Ubuntu Takes On UMPCs and MIDs, Acer Follows

While Microsoft wants to make Windows the leading operating system for ultra-mobile PCs and mobile Internet devices (MIDs), Ubuntu is also vying for this space in a very big way. Canonical announced today that Ubuntu is ready for the small mobile market with a brand new interface designed for intuitive navigation and small screen real estate.

Called Ubuntu Netbook Remix, the interface is highly simplified and provides easy access to all typical things you would find yourself doing: email, web browsing, chatting. Ubuntu Netbook Remix was demonstrated on several devices similar to Asus’ Eee PC, but performed extremely well on smaller MIDs.

According to Canonical:

Ubuntu Netbook Remix leverages Moblin technologies optimized for the Intel Atom processor. Intel and Canonical are working to create a next generation computing experience across a new category of affordable Internet-centric, portable devices; including Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), netbooks, nettops and embedded devices based on Intel Atom processor technology. Canonical is a founding contributor to Moblin and will continue to work with Intel to ensure the best open source applications become available to users and OEMs through Moblin.

Minimum system requirements to support Netbook Remix are: Intel Atom processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB SSD drive. Remix will also include the following software:

- Firefox 3

- Thunderbird

- Pidgin

- OpenOffice

Netbook Remix is available immediately, and Canonical says it’s approaching OEMs with Intel backing support.

Acer also announced its Aspire One UMPC this week with the intent on providing a user interface similar to that of Netbook Remix. The intent is to make user interaction simple and quick. The Aspire One competes directly with Asus’ Eee PC, but comes standard with Linux as its operating system. The differentiating thing with the Aspire One is that Acer has developed a streamlined interface for users to quickly get access to common apps.

Acer says that the new Aspire One will have two options for storage, an 8GB SSD drive or am 80GB regular HDD. Depending on the operating system you choose, Windows XP Home or Linux, the Aspire One will come with 512MB or 1GB of memory. Upgrades for the 512MB system will be optional.

The Aspire One weighs in at about 2.5-pounds and according to Acer, can operate for up to 6 hours. Asus’ new Eee PC 1000 can operate for up to 7.5 hours on aggressive power saving mode. Built in features include 802.11b/g Wi-Fi but no support for 802.11n. However, The Aspire one includes integrated support for your choice of WiMAX or 3G connectivity. With 3G, users will be able to have true wireless Internet access wherever they go. The new Asus Eee PCs do not feature integrated 3G technology.