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Reducing power in MID's displays

Posted: 03 Sep 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MID  display power  power design tip 

Intel estimates that there are 1 billion subscribers to social networking services worldwide, and that 175 million people access these services' Websites everyday (from a presentation given at the 2008 Intel Developer Forum). Increasingly, subscribers depend on handheld Internet devices for connecting to their social networks. Yet, social networks are only one of many types of applications for these systems: they include information, communication, entertainment, and productivity.

In particular, digital communication and entertainment applications will give users a graphics-rich and video-intensive experience, and will depend on a mix of several wireless communication capabilities such as 3G, WiMAX, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and mobile TV. All of these applications require high-speed data transfers and/or high screen resolutions, and will use considerable amounts of battery power in mobile Internet devices (MIDs), netbooks and smart phones.

The design targets of MIDs include a single-cell battery, as well as a high-efficiency power system that allows long battery life and low standby power, while simultaneously being able to respond quickly to wake-up commands. Processor manufacturers for all handheld Internet devices�including Intel for MIDs, ultra-mobile PCs and netbooks, and Marvell, TI and Freescale for smart phones�are struggling to reduce both operating and idle power consumption of their processor platforms. Intel, which has supplied a majority of the processors used in these handheld devices, announced its goals for the next-generation Moorestown (Lincroft) MID processor platform compared to first-generation MIDs based on its Atom (Menlow) platform. These goals are to reduce operating power by just over 2.5X and reduce idle power consumption by 5X.

Power consumed by the MID's display constitutes a large percentage of the overall platform power. Like everything else in a MID, therefore, the display electronics must operate on low standby power and low operating voltage while transferring high-resolution graphics at high speeds.

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