We are delighted to be able to welcome Ubuntu Mobile Internet Device (MID) Edition 8.04 to the world as a full developers’ release. It is based on the Ubuntu Desktop Edition, and it is now available for download.  The Ubuntu MID Edition 8.04 has been built by the Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded community that is sponsored by Canonical and in co-operation with Intel Moblin.org community to take advantage of the Intel(R) Atom Processor, the chipset that is underpinning the Mobile Internet Device (MID) category.  Ubuntu MID Edition will always be an Open Source distribution and is freely available.

What’s in Ubuntu MID?

In some cases we took some applications and modified them to fit better on MID screens and to be finger friendly for touch screens. In others we have included Moblin technologies. A notable feature of Ubuntu MID is a specifically-designed MID browser based on Gecko, that has zoom capabilities that optimize the browsing experience for users, critical for a device primarily designed for Web access.  It also contains applications for email, calendaring, document reading,contacts and a media player as part of the default install. All the applications are freely redistributable.

What and where are the MID images?

There are two installable images, and one runnable KVM image.

Probably the easiest way experience Ubuntu MID Edition is through the KVM image. This a great way to become familiar with the product in readiness for the hardware to be released in the near future by a range of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in most markets.

One for the McCaslin platform targeting a Samsung Q1U. The Q1 was used as a development platform while we were waiting for Menlow hardware to become more widely available.

One is for the Menlow platform (Intel(R) Atom Processor) built for the Intel Crown Beach development station. It should be noted that this is not for direct install on any OEM device. While it can be adapted for Menlow platforms, this requires substantial modifications and is not recommended for end users.  If you flash this to an OEM device it’s likely it would not boot.

Who will use it?

We believe that Ubuntu MID will be used by a range of people and companies.  The most typical case will be purchasers of a MID device who use it as the installed OS with the shipped applications. Users might install additional applications which will be created within the Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded community and in Moblin.org

Developers may want to hack their favorite application from Ubuntu Desktop Edition onto Ubuntu MID to match screen size and touchscreen requirements so that they and other owners can use it. Developers are encouraged to share and have their work reviewed within the UM&E and Moblin.org communities.

Finally, OEM’s and ODM’s will base their devices upon Ubuntu MID using it as the operating system that gets them to market fastest. These manufacturers  will typically make changes such as adding drivers and applications or modifying the UI to suit their anticipated user needs. These are and will be done in co-operation with Canonical’s custom engineering teams based in Taiwan and Lexington, MA.

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.
For more information please see: http://www.ubuntu.com/products/mobile and to learn how to get involved as a developer go to https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MobileAndEmbedded/.

Enjoy the Ubuntu MID!

David Mandala – Project Manager of the Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded Group