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Moblin as the middle manJay Lyman, June 23, 2009 @ 7:13 pm ET
Is it a phone, is it a PC? A netbook or MID? It’s Moblin and if Intel has its way, it will be ‘inside’ the mobile devices we’re using in a year or two, whatever they look like or whatever they’re called.
The latest page of this Intel Moblin story is the announced partnership with mobile phone giant Nokia. While details may have been scant in the announcement, it seems natural that Intel would want to work with a vendor on the mobile phone end of the spectrum, while Nokia would likewise want to stake its claim in the more PC-leaning netbook and MID end.
We’ve seen Intel and its Moblin community, now hosted by the Linux Foundation, work with other software vendors in various categories, primarily netbooks. Here we see Moblin being integrated and perhaps serving as a foundation for other Linux distributions, including Canonical’s Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Xandros, Linpus and Red Flag. These different distributions illustrate how in some ways mobile Linux continues to be somewhat fragmented. However, the distributions and their backers also highlight how the global opportunity and picture is much different and much greater than any than specific, geographic market.
Given all of the buzz around porting of Android to various hardware and processor platforms, I also wonder whether we will hear about similar collaboration and integration of Moblin with that Linux-based OS from Google and the Open Handset Alliance, of which Intel is a member. There is also Intel’s acquisition of Wind River, which represents its strongest push yet in embedded software.
I see all of this headed to a place where Moblin rests below a variety of other software that is more specialized to the particular device, whether it is a smartphone, a netbook a tablet PC or something else. The question is, will Moblin be able to play all of those different roles? Intel is intent on making sure the Moblin software and community have a whole cast of characters to make it happen.
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