As processor technology becomes more mobile appropriate, it opens up new doors for all kinds of applications. More processing power makes it easier for these devices to be more intelligent and to communicate wirelessly amongst themselves. The growth in intelligent mobile devices of all types is going to be phenomenal in the coming years. But, many issues exist that hinder the development and growth of mobile devices.
To be mobile, they must be small and lightweight. They have unique thermal constraints because of the size. You can't simply throw large heat sinks and heat pipes on them to disperse the heat from the processors and chipsets. Fans are not good. They create a long list of design challenges that are more easily addressed by taking them out of the equation. Who wants a fan making noise and constraining how the device is used so as not to block the airflow?
And most visible to users is battery life. Short battery life puts a leash on the mobility factor. Large batteries make the device heavier and less mobile.
Improvements in processor and chipset technology are making it easier to overcome these issues.
I recently moderated an E-cast event on the topic of "Rethink Cool- Intel® AtomTM Meets Tough Design Requirements" that was sponsored by the Intel® Embedded and Communications Alliance, with presentations from Intel ECG, RadiSys, and Nexcom.
Intel ECG started it off with a quick introduction to the Atom processor. RadiSys discussed how COM Express uses the Atom processor to help us re-think cool. The presentation covered the advantages of using a board level module to overcome some of the challenges of designing small systems. The Nexcom presentation touched on techniques on how to design for long battery life in mobile industrial applications.
You can view the E-cast in its entirety at http://w.on24.com/r.htm?e=117593&s=1&k=D93329A40831838D6947B2A6DCCD85DD
Several questions were asked during the E-cast. For a list of questions and responses go to
Rethink Cool- Intel® Atom™ Meets Tough Design Requirements, Sept 24, 2008, Live Chat