At about 4am on Saturday I’ll be waking up to start my journey to San Francisco for the Intel Developer Forum (IDF)which starts the following Tuesday. I should be there about 20 hours later after I’ve made my way to Frankfurt and done the two-part flight via Portland. I really hope there are charging points on the plane!!
IDF is Intel’s 3-times yearly event that brings together partners, developers, journalists and exhibitors and presents them with a 3-day Intel-fest of the latest advances, products, methods and technologies. For readers here it means that we’ll be able to get the latest information about Intel’s UMPC, Mobile Internet Devices and Netbook platforms, get involved in Ultra Mobile conversation with other attendees and even get some training in the areas of software and hardware design. Article continues…
My itinery is far from set in stone but I expect to be at least attending the Mobile Internet Device track, the two mobile hardware keynotes from David Perlmutter and Anand Chandrasekher and the software keynote from Rene James. In addition I will be meeting Jeff Moriarty from Intel’s Mobile Developer Community and hopefully a few of the Ultra Mobile Team members. There will be a blogger meet-up on Wednesday which I’m also looking forward to as this is the first time I’ve been to the U.S. as a tech blogger myself. There are definitely some people I want to meet out there.
In between all the keynotes and sessions I will be visiting the Mobile pavilion. Lenovo, Microsoft, Samsung, HP, Option, Panasonic, Fujitsu, MontaVista will be there. Will Samsung be demonstrating their MID? Will the Lenovo MID be there? What do the latest Moblin-based MID software stacks look like?
There will be plenty to report on and I’m sure if I’m not in a session, I’ll be in the Upload Lounge and will, at every opportunity, try to make sure the cam is on and that I’m active in the UMPCPortal/live page where you can ask questions and check that I’m working hard. I’ll also be updating through other sharing channels that you can see in a single RSS stream here and on the lower right column on the UMPCPortal front page. If you’re on Friendfeed, friend/track me here. Of course, all the important stories will be reported in the main news area on the front page.
What am I expecting from IDF?
Apart from the above, I’m looking for three things. Number one on the list is news about Moorestown. This is the next in the Atom line (at least I believe it will carry the Atom branding) and is aimed at much smaller devices than the MIDs we’re seeing today. Smartphones are the order of the day with Moorestown and now is the time that Intel needs to be demonstrating real silicon and showing designers and developers just what is possible. Would it be possible to build a high-end smartphone around the platform? What sort of battery life and processing power can we expect? Price?
The second thing is Moblin. Or Moblin 2.0 as I believe they are calling it now. What exactly are Intel planning for Moblin? Is it just a core they they’re leaving on the doorstep for distributors like Canonical, Linpus, Wind River and Xandros to pick up or are they going to develop a community around it? Can someone develop a Moblin-compliant app, cheaply and efficiently and expect to be able to push it out to millions on netbook, mid and smartphone devices or are the OEMs and distributors going to get in the way by providing alternative software download mechanisms. Moblin has some huge potential to help Linux get a hold in the consumer market but it needs to set off on the right foot from day one because the ‘others’ (LiMo, Access, OHA, Apple for example) won’t give it a chance if they can help it.
Finally, what’s the status of today’s ultra mobile computing products. There’s been a huge amount of marketing talk about 20 MID manufacturers and other ultra mobile PC products but netbooks are suffering availability problems and there’s just one MID out of the door. The two latest Menlow-based UMPCs are suffering from battery life and less-than-expected video performance issues, battery technology seems to be standing still as do the prices for pro-mo equipment. Is there a demand problem. Are customers waiting?
I guess there will be a few surprises there too. No doubt we’ll hear about 2012 and beyond and there will be the usual mix of social, geo and productivity demos and I’m expecting the usual buzz that occurs when attendees are subjected to three days of marketing! It will be difficult to keep a level head but i’ll do my best. No doubt one of my UMPCs will crash on me or run out of battery as I demo it. That usually gives me the required reality kick!
Ultra Mobile reporting Kit 4.0
As for kit, well I had panned to take the Q1 Ultra with the Q1 keyboard but seeing as that died, I will be taking a netbook. The UMPCs I have just won’t be good enough for the keyboard work I need to do and won’t be powerful enough to do deal with media tasks like Ustream so the Medion Akoya (AKA MSI Wind) will take over prime duties. I talked about the reasons why in this post and its a change I considered to my last Ultra Mobile reporting kit setup (V3.0 is detailed here.) I’ll probably take the WiBrain (VIA based!) or Everun (AMD-based!) as a MID for those in-between times. I’ll put a detailed report together about the kit when I get back.
Expect a podcast later (We’ll do it live after 1800 GMT, 2000 German time) (Listen here. View here.)as JKK and myself go over the details. JKKMobile will be teaming up with me while i’m out in San Francisco as will EeePCnews.de. to report the details that I send out. I’ll also be micro-posting to Friendfeed (Not twitter as I need more than 140 chars and the feedback is better at Friendfeed) which will appear on the front page of UMPCPortal. All in all IDF should be a great time for ultra mobile devices.