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What is a Mobile Internet Device?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Mobile Internet Devices or MIDs are one example of a small Internet communications unit that provides access to the World Wide Web. Usually, a Mobile Internet Device refers to equipment that is somewhat larger than the newer cell phones that have Internet capability, but still considerably smaller than a laptop computer with a wireless connection. The typical Mobile Internet Device will still be small enough to be held in one hand and operated with the opposite hand.

The MID is understood to have several advantages over both the smaller and larger devices. For example, a Mobile Internet Device will provide a larger viewing screen than cell phones equipped with Internet capability. This can help with simplifying the viewing of various web sites. At the same time, the device is small enough to be carried comfortably in a purse or backpack, and is much lighter than the standard laptop.

The concept of a Mobile Internet Device is relatively new. Intel announced the first prototype for the device during 2007. This groundbreaking prototype is understood to be available at a competitive price, operate with an acceptable amount of RAM and disk space, and offer easy to use Wi-Fi connectivity. Screen resolution for the device is considered to be comparable to that of a laptop. In order to execute quick searching, there is a filter that is understood to streamline the interface somewhat. Other companies have since announced plans to produce similar devices.

Some market analysts note that the Mobile Internet Device is being promoted to reach a sector of the market that is thought to be untapped. Considered to be an ideal solution for consumers who are not interested in lugging around a heavier device but also prefer not to go with a cell phone that has Internet capability, there is a high level of expectation for the popularity of the MIDs. The anticipation is that millions of users worldwide will find the Mobile Internet Device to be the perfect compromise between the devices currently on sale today.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including EasyTechJunkie, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By Charred — On Jun 09, 2011

@nony - I disagree, I think the term does have unique application. As I’ve heard it used, it does apply specifically to tablet devices, whether you’re referring to IPad, Android, Nokia tablets or what have you.

So a smart phone does not technically qualify even though it is Internet capable. These devices are supposed to be larger than smart phones but smaller than laptops.

Of course, they are keyboard equipped as well and their microprocessor is faster than what you would find on a typical smart phone.

By nony — On Jun 08, 2011

@Singly - I agree. There is nothing about the description given here that merits the classification of a mobile Internet device as something unique, unless I’ve missed something. Just about every smart phone is Internet capable as is the IPad, as you mentioned.

One thing worth noting is that this trend towards connected mobility is going to make the desktop computer somewhat passé in the future. Soon we may refer to desktop computers as “fixed Internet devices.” Mobility has become the new norm.

By Singly — On May 10, 2011

this sounds like the iPad and the internet tablets that are available today... there are definitely problems with relying on a smartphone or other small wireless internet device, and there are disadvantages to having to carry around a a laptop (having to put it on you lap sort of defeats the purpose of being handheld!) I'm still wary of touchscreens, though. My gut says go with something with a keyboard.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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