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Mira's future is clearer

XScale chips to power new mobile monitors

Intel's XScale processor technology has been chosen to power a handful of new wireless monitors being cooked up by hardware makers to take advantage of Microsoft's Mira technologies, the chipmaker said on Friday.

Philips and ViewSonic will use the Intel chips to power wireless "smart display devices" based on Mira, a technology that allows users to access their Windows XP desktop from a portable monitor.

Both hardware makers will use Intel's PXA250 applications processor to power their Mira-enabled devices due out towards the end of this year, Intel said.

The chip firm launched its XScale processor line in mid-February, having first announcing it back in 2000, and is touting the new chips as perfectly suited to networking given their low power consumption, which allows for extended battery life and high performance.

While Intel appears keen on the mobile monitor push, consumers have not seen many real-world examples yet. Microsoft has just unveiled its Mira technologies earlier this year. Since then, however, a number of PC makers have thrown their support behind the idea.

The target for now is home users, offering them the same kind of mobility with their home PCs as they get from cordless phones. By tapping on a monitor with a stylus or using a mouse, users could presumably access all the content and applications in their PC via a wireless connection and view them on the mobile display.

"This is really quite new and makes a whole lot of sense because it separates the interface from the computer," said Martin Reynolds, research fellow with research firm Gartner Dataquest.

Reynolds envisions a device whereby users cannot only access their computer applications and content, but also control other devices in their homes, letting them choose CDs or play games, for example.

However, one important part of user adoption will be making the devices "dead easy" to use, Reynolds said.


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