First seen in late November, the Inbrics Android MID from Korea initially caught our interest with its slick design and form factor. Following a brief appearance at CES, the company has just announced it will formally launch the Inbrics M1 Android MID at the Mobile World Congress starting next week in Barcelona.
Although officially classed by the company as a MID, the M1 is actually more akin to a smartphone as it incorporates full 3G phone functionality and a design that wouldn't be out of place in the company of today's leading handsets. Some of the known specifications include a 3.7" AMOLED touch screen, 800MHz ARM Cortex A8-based Samsung processor, sliding QWERTY keypad, 3MP camera, front-facing VGA webcam, 16GB internal storage, microSD support, GPS, WiFi, and 3G or WiMAX connectivity.
A brief hands-on report at CES by Engadget (see video below as well) speaks very highly of the display and very svelte form being only about half an inch thick, keeping in mind the inclusion of the sliding keyboard. The keyboard is also said to have a good feel and be very usable, while on the software side the current Android 1.5 OS (which Inbrics intends to update to 2.x) is highly customized with a stylish, intuitive interface. Inbrics has also spoken of its rich media sharing capabilities with the M1 acting as a media controller for other devices allowing photos, videos, music, and the like to be easily shared between TVs, desktop PCs, laptops, digital cameras, and other handsets.
As for the actual release date and price, information is still limited with the company stating that it's aiming to make the M1 available in Europe this year or in early 2011. Inbrics has also previously said that it's hoping to work with carriers to possibly rebrand and sell the device.
I was initially a bit skeptical of this device when it was revealed purely as a MID, as I felt it was a bit too close to the smartphone segment and wouldn't offer many advantages over a leading handset. But with the latest information and the inclusion of phone functionalities, the M1 looks like a compelling proposition with its combination of great design and potentially innovative software customizations. The only concern is how long it will take before it becomes available, with the speed of development in MIDs and smartphones faster than ever.