Intel said at the Intel Developers Forum (IDF) that Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) based on its new Atom chip will be available with both Windows XP and Linux.
MID is the name Intel has given to handheld devices based on Centrino Atom that are expected to be produced in a range of form factors, with many using touchscreens or slide-out keyboards. The devices, which are being showcased at IDF in Shanghai, are seen as a way for users to access the internet and play media files when they are on the move.
In the past, Intel had said these devices would run Linux and established an effort, called Moblin.org, to develop a version of the open-source software for MIDs. The fruits of that effort include versions of Canonical's Ubuntu and Asianux that are designed for MIDs.
Support for Windows XP on MIDs is particularly noteworthy, because Microsoft planned to stop selling most Windows XP licences on June 30 - around the same time that many MIDs will just be hitting the market. However, on Tuesday Microsoft revealed plans to extend Windows XP for certain products, such as low-cost laptops.
Besides Vista and XP, Windows Mobile may also find its way onto these devices some day.
The man appointed to develop a version of Windows Mobile for MIDs is Len Kawell, formerly the CEO of Pepper Computer, who joined Microsoft last month. During the 1980s, Kawell was a founding member of Iris Associates, the company founded by Ray Ozzie, now Microsoft's chief software architect, to develop Lotus Notes. He also has experience with MIDs, as his former company, Pepper, developed a version of Linux for these devices.