Intel and Ubuntu get moving on mobile venture

8 May 2007

One week following Dell’s decision to make Ubuntu the operating system of choice for its Linux range of computers, Ubuntu has announced plans to work with Intel in developing an open source platform for mobile devices.

Ubuntu plan to release this mobile OS in October of this year along with Ubuntu 7.1o, and will begin more detailed planning of the process next week at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Seville, Spain.

Matt Zimmerman, Ubuntu CTO, said: “It is clear that new types of device – small, handheld, graphical tablets which are internet-enabled – are going to change the way we communicate and collaborate.

“These devices place new demands on open source software and require innovative graphical interfaces, improved power management and better responsiveness.”

Intel’s latest developments in low power processors and chipsets, codenamed Silverthorn, made it an ideal choice for working with Ubuntu on the Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded project.

Silverthorn, which launches next year, is claimed to be one seventh the size of a conventional processor and can operate on one tenth of its power requirements.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini demonstrated a prototype mobile device at a 3 May analyst meeting, developed using Silverthorn technology that runs on Ubuntu.

However, Zimmerman is encouraging others interested in bringing open source to mobile platforms to get involved.

“Intel is making significant contributions of technology, people and expertise to the project. We hope that others who are interested in producing an easy-to-use and open source environment for this class of device will join us in making this a success,” he said.

Some companies are already delivering open source to the mobile market, like Nokia’s Linux-based N800 Internet Tablet.

By Marie Boran