VON: Low-power devices, true Internet access to drive mobile usage
SAN JOSE -- New Internet technologies like online video and social networking are driving massive increases in broadband traffic, but for that usage to move to mobile networks requires new developments in mobile performance, software compatibility and core network capabilities.
That was the story today from Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Ultra Mobility Group, speaking at the opening keynote here at the VON.x show.
Chandrasekher ran through upcoming developments in the Intel mobile processor line, including Intel’s recently-announced Atom low-power processor and upcoming chips code-named Silverthrone and Moorestown, its first built from the ground up to target phone form factor devices.
Chandrasekher initially focused on the trends driving mobile data usage, including the growth of social networking. Social networks now account for 3 billion minutes of data usage per day, passing porn as the leading source of broadband data traffic, Chandrasekher said.
“Those of you carriers and service providers that are thinking, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of data minutes that can apply to a handheld device,’ well, this [traffic] is not mobilized yet. Today, all of this happens on the PC; very little of this happens on a handheld device. The holy grail is now unleashing the Internet and putting it in your pocket.”
Chandrasekher pointed to evidence that browsing and the mobile Web are already driving significant data usage. Citing a recent study from Nokia, Chandrasekher said mobile users currently spend 37% of their time on phone messaging, which drives about 11% of mobile data network traffic. They spend about 12% of their time making voice calls, accounting for less than 6% of network traffic. Finally they spend just 8% of their time mobile browsing – in part due to the poor user experience today. But that limited time accounts for 52% of mobile data traffic.
It’s clear that “browsing drives traffic,” Chandrasekher said. “But the devices out there aren’t quite delivering the experience. There is a huge, pent-up demand to deliver the full Internet in your pocket.”
Three advances are required to satisfy user demand for better mobile Internet experiences: massive improvements in device performance and power consumption; better software compatibility across the desktop and mobile Internet; and wider availability of broadband data networks, Chandrasekher said.
Chandrasekher outlined Intel’s product roadmap for supporting more capable devices. Beyond the recently debuted Atom processor (formerly code-named Silverthrone), Intel is pointing to the Menlow processor later this year, its first CPU built from the ground up for the low-power mobile market. Menlow represents a ten-times decrease in power consumption from the lowest end of the laptop market. The Moorestown CPU, slated for 2009/2010, will drive down power consumption by a factor of ten and is targeted at very small, phone factor-type devices.
Beyond that chip roadmap, Chandrasekher talked a bit about the air interface support trends in its currently shipping chips. For the more than 35 chip designs Intel is shipping in the second quarter, 14% of the chips have WiFi-only; 37% support WiFi and WiMax and 49% support 3G HSPA/ WiFi.
To put some flare into his presentation, Chandrasekher showed several prototype devices built around a Moorestown-type chipset, including a device code-named Magic that combined a phone, PC-like keyboard device and a music player in one package.
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