Major OEM Preinstall Ahead for Moblin Tech?

Article Source MoblinZone Blog
October 21, 2009, 12:54 pm

Samsung has licensed Phoenix Technologies’s “Instant-on” quick-boot Linux environment. Phoenix says the deal spans “notebooks and netbooks,” while Samsung touts its UMPC leadership. Hm, could Moblin technology be headed for the Q1?

Asked whether Samsung would include Moblin technology on its netbooks and notebooks, a Phoenix spokesperson deferred to Samsung. However, all signs seem to point to the possibility (including Phoenix taking the trouble to mail their Samsung win press release directly to MoblinZone editors).

Phoenix Hyperspace is best-known as a “pre-boot” environment that PC makers can install in protected, hidden partitions. Users decide at boot time whether to launch a Windows OS — which could take five minutes or more — or Hyperspace. Running on a Linux kernel, and saving battery power by shutting off most peripheral hardware and unused RAM, Hyperspace provides a minimalist computing environment suited for quick email checks and webbrowsing. For more, see my detailed, hands-on review from last January, here.

What’s a UMPC?
The Microsoft-originated term “UMPC” (formerly codenamed “Origami”) describes handhelds aimed at cramming PC functionality into pocketable form factors. With its Q1, Samsung has long been a leader among the admittedly small cadre of consumer electronics manufacturers dabbling in this (for now) niche market.

Most of today’s news release focused on how Samsung had licensed Hyperspace for use on netbooks and notebooks. However, there was also a significant nod toward UMPCs: nameless Samsung “PC division executives” were quoted positioning the company as “the world’s fastest growing vendor in the ultra mobile computing market.”

And indeed, it seems to me that Moblin technology may be even better suited to UMPCs than to larger form factors. Battery life is more important to ultra-mobile applications. And, Moblin UI technology has been aimed at small screens and low-powered hardware from the start.

With new mobile form factors such as netbooks starting to make a strong show in the market, it’s little wonder that Phoenix has adopted Moblin technology. It added Moblin technology to Hyperspace in July, and then last month stepped up to Moblin v2 technology, demo’ing its Moblin v2 build at IDF. It even convinced Intel to bundle HyperSpace with Moblin technology with an Intel(r) Atom(tm) development board.

Lots more details about Samsung netbooks, notebooks, and UMPCs (which are afforded equal shrift on its mobile products page) can be found here. A review of Hyperspace that I wrote last January can be read here. Phoenix’s dedicated Hyperspace website, where visitors are invited to sign up for email announcements of version 2.0 (which will likely be marketed direct to users, as well as to OEMs), can be found here.