CNET is claiming that Intel's new open-source Moblin 2.1 (short for Mobile Linux) operating system could take on Google's Android and even Microsoft Windows in the mobile and desktop markets. CNET got a good taste of Moblin 2.1 this week at the Intel Developer Forum, saying that the OS will focus on a variety of devices including in-car systems, smartphones, Mobile Internet Devices, and even nettops.
When the OS finally hits the market, Moblin 2.1 will arrive in three flavors: one for nettops, one for Netbooks, and one for handhelds. CNET said that the smartphone version will run on Atom chip-based devices, capable of touch-screen and gesture input. Users will be able to move through different applications running in the background; the OS will also provide shortcuts to social-networking applications.
As for the Netbook aspect, CNET kept it short, saying that Dell recently began selling its $299 Mini 10v Notebook with an option for Ubuntu Moblin Remix, with other PC makers lined up to manufacture Moblin-based netbooks as well. The nettop news was even shorter, saying that with Windows XP on the way out, Microsoft will need to spit out a version of Windows 7 that will be cheap enough for the Netbook and nettop market. Intel is quietly watching with Moblin 2.1 cocked and ready for an assault.
But, as CNET points out, overall the success of Intel's Moblin 2.1 will depend on third-party software availability. The company has launched its Atom Developer Program to draw in developers for the new platform. "Moblin puts Intel in competition with Microsoft on several fronts, opposing Windows Mobile on smartphones and Windows desktop on Netbooks and nettops," CNET's Lance Whitney said. "But the two still need to play together."