GBM reader Alex has posted on his blog that the Willcom MID that was spotted at CES will indeed be based on the Intel Atom. Willcom, a Japanese cell phone carrier, is teaming with Sharp to develop and release this new MID based on the Intel Atom and running Windows Vista. Since the prototype was basically shaped like a large candy bar style cell phone, I’m not sure how well a Vista interface will work on that tiny screen. Should be interesting to see.
However, don’t expect to see the Willcom device outside of Japan. It’s supposed to be based on (yet another) proprietary Japanese wireless technology – the next-gen PHS network. While the technology share some features with WiMAX, I can’t understand why Japan would once again move away from world standards to create their own network type. I used to get so frustrated because my cell phone wouldn’t work in Japan. With UMTS, I finally have complete cell phone coverage worldwide. Hopefully that will last.