Mobile Future

Where the chips fall

An interesting
comment from Intel CEO Paul
Otellini:

 "We
[Intel] didn’t really understand the smartphone phenomenon until three or four
years ago: The Internet is the killer app.  Voice is necessary but it’s not what
you buy a smartphone for."

 That’s from
Janet Paskin’s interview in the August SmartMoney.  Intel is plowing $7 billion
into U.S. factories to produce chips
designed for smartphones so that, as Otellini
says:

 "You’ll
have the same experience on your phone that you have on a PC.  You’ll have
better graphics, better video, you’ll never go to a site where the Flash player
doesn’t work."

This is
interesting on two counts.  First, it’s a useful reminder of how Moore’s
Law
is rapidly increasing handheld computing power.  Today’s iPhone
has about as much computing power as a 2000 PowerBook or a PlayStation 2.  The
Blackberry Storm uses a top-notch, dual-core Qualcomm MSM7600 chip and Red
Ferret says
the Palm Pre’s OMAP3430 chip takes it to "a new level
in handset design."

Second, the
growth in affordable processing is one of the mobile Internet’s key drivers.  It
makes possible our mobile apps from banking and gaming to video streaming and
GPS.  It also spurs the growing diversity among cutting-edge
handsets.

Since handset
issues have been in the news recently
, Otellini’s comments are a
useful reminder of how quickly the mobile world is
changing.