Moblin 2.1 is meant to be a preview version for developers and carries numerous user-interface and software improvements, according to the Linux Foundation, which manages development of the OS. The OS is available for download on Moblin's website.
Intel announced Moblin 2.1 at the Intel Developer Forum on Tuesday as an upgrade to Moblin 2.0. Moblin was originally developed and pushed by Intel as an operating system for netbooks, but with Moblin 2.1, Intel is extending the OS to desktops and handheld devices that are powered by its Atom processor.
"Moblin v2.1 will be an incremental release over Moblin v2.0 and is the next release stream for adding new features and developments," wrote Imad Sousou in a blog entry on Moblin's website. The initial release is only for netbooks, but versions for handheld devices like mobile Internet devices "will align with the availability and release of those hardware platforms," Sousou wrote.
A version of Moblin for nettops wasn't available for download.
Intel had to rethink the user interface of Moblin 2.1 to fit into multiple screen sizes of netbooks, nettops and handheld devices. The OS includes support for additional nettop screen resolutions. Netbook screens typically range from 7 inches to 12 inches, while netbooks can be attached to larger screens.
New applications in Moblin 2.1 called Moblin Garage and Moblin Application Installer allow users to download, install or remove software. The OS improves 3G data support for improved mobile broadband capabilities, and it also carries better Bluetooth support. The OS has better language support and an updated Linux kernel.
Moblin 2.1 also includes support for the Pine Trail platform, which is Intel's upcoming platform for netbooks. Pine Trail integrates a graphics processor inside the Atom CPU. Netbooks based on Pine Trail could appear early next year.
Developer preview versions are usually released to identify and remove bugs. The releases allow programmers to build software around the OS. Availability of Moblin 2.1 on a wider scale is planned for the fourth quarter, Sousou wrote.
Moblin has used netbooks to test the OS in the past, including Acer Aspire One, Asus Eee PC and Dell Mini. Earlier this week, an Intel official said that the company is working with hardware firms to add hardware compatibility to the OS. On Wednesday, Dell started offering a version of Moblin with the Inspiron Mini 10v netbook.