Ubuntu Releases Ubuntu 8.0.4 for MID Developers

June 25th, 2008 at 12:00 am

ubuntu mid

Mobile Internet Devices or MID’s are a tough category to define.  They lie somewhere between smartphones and ultramobile pc’s (UMPC’s).  Here’s how Intel defines them:

"Mobile Internet Devices represent a new category of small, truly mobile devices that give you an amazing Internet experience — allowing you to communicate with others, enjoy your favorite entertainment, and access information on-the-go. Consumer electronics and PC companies are using Intel Centrino Atom processor technology to deliver exciting new products for consumers and business users. This latest generation of small, powerful, highly portable Internet-connected devices combines many great capabilities with the convenience of a pocket-sized solution for your life on-the-go."

And if that did not help you, here’s how CNET describes it:

"A MID–a concept Intel is aggressively promoting–is a mobile device larger and more like a regular computer than, say an Apple iPhone, but smaller than an ultraportable PC." 

Actually I think that’s more confusing since I consider the EeePC a UMPC since it runs on an Intel Atom, but ok, let’s have it their way, and besides, Ubuntu has only released their Hardy Heron on two machines, Samsung Q1U and Intel Crown Beach (which I think is a developer platform).

Anyway, the Ubuntu 8.0.4 (Hardy Heron) is now available for developers to tinker around with from Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu.  David Mandala of Canonical wrote in a blog post announcing the release of the OS , "Ubuntu MID will start to follow the normal Ubuntu 6 monthly release cycle with the next version at 8.10.  The Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded community is small right now but growing and includes individuals and some organizations, and always welcomes new participants and partners. This release marks the start of a way for new users to experience Ubuntu and Open Source software and as the hardware becomes commonplace it will become a very exciting place to get users experiencing applications from our communities." 

The Ubuntu MID boasts full internet capabilities and  "All unnecessary complexity in the user experience is eliminated."  It has its own Gecko-based browser that has zoom features for smaller devices, Pidgin for instant messaging, GNOME’s Cheese webcam app, Claws Mail eMail, and Moblin Media for music and video — all optimized for current and last generation MID / UMPC chipsets from Intel.

Of course, Ubuntu being an open source project means that anybody can hack it and optimize it for other devices, so it’s very possible that we see the Hardy Heron on EeePC’s, Cloudbooks, HP 2199’s, Toughbooks and maybe even iPhones or Insticnts? Yes, Ubuntu 8.0.4 can be optimized for touchscreens.