Intel Buys Mobile Linux Developer OpenedHand

The acquisition supports Intel's ventures into mobile Internet devices, smartphones, and other emerging devices for accessing the Web.
Intel has bought London-based mobile Linux developer OpenedHand for an undisclosed sum.

OpenedHand is focused on developing Linux for mobile Internet devices, handheld gadgets used primarily for accessing e-mail and the Web. Intel has targeted the market with its low-power Atom processor, which the chipmaker introduced in April.

OpenedHand developers will join Intel's Open Source Technology Center, where they will focus on optimizing the Moblin software stack for Atom. Moblin, which stands for mobile Linux, is an open source project established by Intel. The initiative seeks to produce tools and software for MIDs, TV set-top boxes, personal navigation devices, personal media players, and ultra-light laptops.

"Intel will continue supporting open source projects currently led by OpenedHand staff, such as Clutter and Matchbox projects, and, in most cases, will accelerate these projects as they become an integral part of Moblin," OpenedHand said Tuesday in announcing the acquisition. Clutter is a graphics library for creating hardware-accelerated user interfaces, and Matchbox is a window manager used in Internet devices, such as Nokia's Internet Tablet and FIC's Neo smartphone.

Intel is not alone in targeting MIDs, smartphones, and other emerging devices for accessing the Web. Graphics chipmaker Nvidia is competing with Tegra, an all-in-one integrated graphics systems on a chip. Nvidia is particularly interested in the smartphone market, which is also being targeted by Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Samsung Electronics.

Intel's major competitor for manufacturers building mini-notebooks, ultra-light devices with screens less than 10 inches, is VIA Technologies, which makes the Nano CPU. Nvidia is working with Via to combine Nano with Tegra into a smartphone hardware platform.

Intel has said that demand for its Atom processor is "better than anticipated." Demand, in fact, is so good that media reports have said that the chipmaker is falling behind in meeting orders. Intel, however, has not acknowledged any problems. "Demand is very good, better than expected, and we're working with our customers to meet that demand," a spokesman told InformationWeek.