This morning I learned about a pretty slick new Linux open source project called Moblin. Moblin has been around for a couple of years now but the new 2.0 version is now in beta and today at Computex Taipei there was an executive summit (video below) which helped me wrap my head around the scope and direction of the project. Founded by Intel in July 2007, Moblin started as a project looking to enable a new class of devices based on the Intel Atom processor. With the 2.0 version, Intel has handed the keys over to the Linux Foundation to drive this project to the next level as an open source platform of mobile computing.
Moblin 2.0 offers an open platform that developers can build on and see instant gratification by plugging into the Moblin myzone dashboard. The platform and dashboard reminds me of the iPhone application platform but for slightly larger more powerful devices. The myzone dashboard that aggregator a bunch of widgets of information into a startpage experience that is anchored by a tool bar across the top. The dashboard includes social features by sharing a lifestream are which pulls in information from sites like Twitter, Last.fm and Flickr. It also offers a status message system that is said to push updates out to your various social sites that revolve around status updates. Moblin also positions your videos, photos, music and calendar on your startpage.
Moblin enables mobile internet devices to offer an open source platform that is tailored to the mobile experience rather than forcing a current industry solution onto a device with a smaller screen size. Why is this significant? It is important because Moblin creates an easy way for device makers to offer a robust, easy to use and mobile focused operating system so that they can focus on making devices. Many device makers in the mobile internet space currently either leverage existing software or create their own new operating system.
Mobile device critics that I talked to believe that Moblin is a great start but still needs some work to improve the overall user experience to make it a full operating systems. I even overheard someone say it looks like a pile of apps landing no where but overall the core is very good. Moblin is very young so I expect with this open source effort the critics will be silenced with time.
With the launch of Moblin 2.0, we are going to see more media phones, Voice-enabled internet and media-focused devices, like the Inventec MediaPhone with the Intel Atom processor inside shown in the photo taken by MID Moves (below).
Is the media phone too big to carry around as your only mobile phone? Or will people carry around a two devices?