MIDs will raise the bar for high-end PMPs

Updated on 11 March 2010 by

Worth highlighting  from the PMP perspective is the news that  Intel Atom along with the Poulsbo will enable a full HD playback experience. While reviewers have yet to see this in action, Intel are talking about 1080p playback performance [PDF] and have also announced that Real Networks will produce an optimised (chipset and finger friendly) player and codec-set for the platform. [News]


I’m an Archos 605Wifi owner and it handles most content well but I certainly cant feed high bitrate or high resolution H.264 into it. As for the Internet aspect, it’s what I’d call ‘entry-level.’

Add the following features to the video playback capabilities and I think you’ll have something that raises the bar for high-end PMP’s so high that Archos and Cowon will have to introduce new models based on new hardware platforms  in order to benefit from this growing portable Internet and media player (PIMP?) market. My prediction is that we’ll see Archos release an Intel-based MID within the next year. Anyway, here’s the list of features that needs to be considered.

  • Unified codec pack
  • Open software stack
  • 3G modem
  • Cameras
  • 5", 800×480 screen
  • Keyboard
  • Firefox 3 browser
  • GPS
  • Navigation capabilities
  • DX9 and Open-GL performance (enabling gaming and compelling UI’s)
  • Full IM, email and productivity software suite
  • Big developer network
  • Massive PR and marketing weight.

Take the Gigabyte M528 for example. When (not if) I buy one I’m going to be getting a device that is essentially a Nokia N810 and Archos 605 Wifi on steroids. Both of those devices have value on their own but if you add the two together and throw in a 3G modem, you get far more than the sum of the parts. It moves the PMP into the realms of social media networking, one of the fastest growing segments in the Internet today. Yes, the price will be high on day one but the features, as far as I’m concerned are worth shelling out some beans for. HD playback, 3mbp auto focus camera, GPS, 3 hours battery life, 3G, keyboard, hi-res touchscreen and a Firefox 3 browser. Oh come on, this is just portable gadget heaven isn’t it?

If you’re a PMP fan, maybe an Archos or Cowon owner, I’d love to hear your opinion. What aspects of the current PMPs will MIDs have a problem with. Community? Price? Battery life? UI?

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4 Comments For This Post

  1. thenegret says:

    I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while now, about how lower-end UMPCs started to compete with high-end PMPs and where all this is now going.

    After the Cowon Q5 was released (last year?) at around US$600, it became quite comparable to the entry level Everun. Threads started popping up at iaudiophile and archosfans about the pros and cons of using a UMPC to fit the media player role (look for them!) which lead to pretty interesting discussions. In the end, it all came up to each person’s needs.

    Now that MIDs are entering the picture, it will all become even tighter.

    I for one, given the choice, would rather have in my PMP a full fledged OS, with all its flexibility, regardless of the inherent setbacks like startup times. I can spare a couple of minutes before watching a movie or browsing the net. WinXP’s life has been extended, let’s optimize it and put it in a second gen Everun or WiBrain with TV-out and good looks and you’ve got a winner. The Everun already proved that decent battery life is possible, now lets make an attractive unit which is desirable to the mass market.

  2. ARHYTHMATIK says:

    BATTERY LIFE! That will be the ONE function that severely limits MIDs. If battery life can be comparable to a PPC, then you’re talking about a revolution in mobility.

  3. Archos 704 says:

    This is the second time I visit your blog and find an interesting article perfectly matching what I was searching for so I decided to add your feed to my RSS Reader. Thanks for you work.

  4. The Other Man says:

    just stick it to a Viliv S5. Its simple because with a full operating system you have the ability to play back almost every major and minor media format (accept for some HD) And even then why do you need to watch HD on a Damn 5 inch screen! Ok so no webcam or keyboard but ask yourself, “Why do I need a keyboard on something I will be using as secondary PC or PMP”. Unless you REALLY plan on doing note taking with this. And as for a lack of webcam? It has USB 2.0 input so just buy am inexpensive webcam with microphone install skype and viola! Problem solved!

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    […] in April, I published my thoughts on how MIDs could raise the bar for high-end PMPs. I wrote the article after I saw some interesting notes on the video hardware that was going to be […]

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