Little Mass Appeal for Intel's Mobile Internet Device

A device to fill the gap between smartphones and netbooks struggles to find a market

3 min read

The mobile-computing-device market is a little like the car market. On the high end, you've got your big, fully loaded luxury models–that would be your large-screen laptops. On the low end, you've got your park-anywhere, use-minimal-power gizmos–your smartphones. In between, you've got a range of sedans and low-cost compacts–your tablet PCs, subnotebooks, and netbooks.

Seems like plenty of variety in that lineup, but Intel–for more than a year now and hot on the heels of its promotion of netbooks–has been evangelizing a new entrant, a device it calls the MID computer, for Mobile Internet Device. Others refer to it as the ultracompact computer or the tweener. As described at multiple industry events by Intel, such a computer would fill a niche, being more portable and less power hungry than a netbook, yet having a bigger screen and providing more functions than a smartphone. Intel's vision, originally a device about the size of a standard videocassette, seems now to be shifting to embrace multiple shapes and sizes.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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