Handheld devices running Moblin 2.0 will be able to access Google’s Android Market, potentially making the Intel operating system as appealing as Android for mobile carriers paid to host application downloads on their networks.
Similar to the App Store built for Apple’s iPhone, Android Market offers free and paid applications that can be downloaded to devices based on Google’s Android operating system.
The mobile phone industry currently favors Android over Moblin, while the opposite is true for the netbook and nettop industries, Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, said at a Linux forum during the Computex Taipei exhibition.
But developer interest in Moblin could “go crazy” in the next year as more Moblin-based devices come out, Zemlin said.
The ability to access Android content on Moblin could also neutralize some of Android’s advantages. Both operating systems are based on a Linux kernel.
Both Moblin and Android appeared in a number of netbooks, or scaled-down laptops, displayed by PC makers this week at the Computex exhibition in Taipei. Strong interest followed displays of Android netbooks made by companies including Acer, Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) and Asustek Computer, though Acer also said it planned to offer Moblin across its range of PCs.
Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president of Intel’s ultra mobility group, showed several Android applications installed on an Atom-based netbook running Moblin 2.0 during a speech Thursday.
Access to Android Market — and other application stores — will also be available on handheld computers that Intel calls mobile Internet devices (MIDs), said an Intel executive manning a display of Intel’s products at the Computex exhibition in Taipei. Intel showed off the first working MID prototypes that use its Moorestown chip platform for the devices on Thursday.
The Moorestown devices are expected to be available early next year.
Moblin 2.0’s support for Android Market and other download stores was added to appeal to carriers that have revenue sharing agreements with Google for Android Marketplace, the Intel executive said. It will also allow operators or handset makers that have built their own application stores to easily extend access to devices running Moblin, he said.
Adding support for Android Market, or other stores, to Moblin 2.0 is done using a runtime and does not require that the device be running Android, he said.
Intel has substantially raised its funding for Moblin development since it handed oversight of the project and its community to the Linux Foundation, Zemlin said.