If there’s one area of technology that Intel has been pouring resources into lately, it’s the mobile arena. Ever since the launch of Centrino, Intel has been throwing a huge amount of marketing and R&D behind mobile computing solutions, which isn’t surprising considering the amount of computing power that the average consumer carries in his/her pocket these days.
During his keynote speech, Sean Maloney was keen to point out that notebook computers only make up one part of Intel’s mobility strategy, but nonetheless an important part. These days, mobile computing refers to so much more than notebooks - Intel also has a large piece of the PDA and mobile phone pies and is keen to make all this mobility technology work seamlessly together.
Of course we’ve been seeing Intel technology in mobile phones and PDAs for some time now, but the company thinks that these devices could all work better with the PC. Maloney’s first party trick involved one touch connection between your mobile phone and PC. These days it’s pretty hard to find a mobile phone that doesn’t have an integrated camera, but Intel feels that most consumers have no idea how to get those images off their phone and onto their PC – not an assumption that I’d argue with.
Intel thinks that the answer to this problem is “one button connect” – a simple way to connect your mobile phone to your PC via Bluetooth. The idea is that with the press of one button the PC and phone will connect, and synchronise – then all of your contacts, diary entries will be copied to and from the phone, and all the photos you’ve taken with the in-phone camera will be transferred to your PC. Then you can edit your pictures, burn them to disc or email them to friends, without the high charge of picture messaging. With the resolution of camera phones rising all the time, more and more consumers will want to be able to manage their images on their PC.
Another bonus that Intel was pushing for one button connect, is the ability to use your phone as a data modem. Although Maloney was keen to point out that a WiFi hotspot would be the connection method of choice for your laptop, sometimes that option may not be available. One button connect would let you easily connect your phone to your notebook and use it to connect to the Internet. Now, call me cynical, but I think this may highlight the fact that the US is behind Europe when it comes to mobile technology. In the UK at least, connecting to the Internet via your mobile phone is pretty common place, and anyone who needs a “no brainer” way of doing this, probably doesn’t need to do it in the first place.
What Maloney failed to mention was how much setting up was involved to make the one button connect work in the first place. Anyone who’s set their notebook up to work over GPRS or 3G via Bluetooth will know that just getting the right dial strings configured can be a pain – so, although pressing one button is something that anyone can do, configuring that one button could be a different matter altogether.