Intel builds world’s smallest 3G modem the size of a 1p coin

Intel reckons its super-tiny piece of mobile internet hardware’s the dinkiest of its kind ever made, but what use could such a small 3G modem have? investigates…

Computer manufacturing firm Intel's unveiled a new 3G modem with approximately the same surface area as the side of a 1p coin.

The company, best known for making PC processors, says the XMM 6255, which is just over 10mm wide, is the world's smallest device of its kind. The aim is now to find ways of embedding it in connected devices around the home, reports BBC News.

Despite its tiny size, the modem has a built-in power supply and can withstand high temperatures and harsh conditions. This could make it particularly useful for home safety and security devices, such as 'smart' smoke detectors and burglar alarms.

A triggered smart alarm might send an email or Facebook alert to your mobile, for example.

Sergis Mushell, a research director for technology analysts Gartner, told the BBC: "It's not just about the size of it. What Intel's really doing is going after a significant stake in the 'internet of things' market, where connectivity is most important."

The miniscule chip could also prove useful for turning wearable technology like smartwatches, not to mention Google Glass, into standalone 3G mobile devices that connect to a network like Vodafone or O2 instead of being limited to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Last month, the first two smartwatches powered by Google's Android mobile operating system were released by LG and Samsung.

The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, both rectangular in design and built on the new Android Wear smartwatch platform, can connect to your Android smartphone wirelessly, making tons of features accessible without you having to get your phone out.

Apple's also rumoured to be working on a smartwatch - we bravely predict it'll be called the iWatch - so if you've got an iPhone, you might not have to wait too much longer to get involved with the wrist-based action.

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