The open source Linux operating system is arguably a major force in the mobile and embedded space and can be found on a growing number of popular devices ranging from the TiVo to Amazon’s Kindle. It’s not surprising that the proverbial penguin has a strong presence at CES this week, where gadget makers from around the world are unveiling their latest and greatest toys.
Touchscreen devices are the new hotness this year and are arriving with Linux in a number of different form factors and configurations. There are some new touchscreen Internet dashboards for the home, including ICD’s 15-inch Vega, an Android-based tablet with NVIDIA’s Tegra SoC. Another compelling product in this category is the Sony Dash, a 7-inch touchscreen device that that runs Chumby’s Linux platform and doubles as an alarm clock.
Dell lifted the curtain on its mysterious slate computer, a five-inch touchscreen device that comes with an Android-based software platform and will reportedly function as a phone. Dell also announced that its more conventional Android smartphones—previously only available in China—are coming to the United States. Dell is among several companies that AT&T has identified as its Android hardware partners.
Linux is still a strong player in the little laptop market. MSI has announced that Novell’s new mashup of Moblin and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop will be available as an option on the upcoming 10-inch MSI U135 netbook. Smartbooks have finally arrived and are making a big splash at CES. HP has an Android-based smartbook with a 10-inch resistive touchscreen, and Lenovo announced its slim Skylight with a Web-oriented Linux OS. Both products ship with the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM processor.
One of the most intriguing products that has emerged so far from CES is Lenovo’s IdeaPad U1 Hybrid, a laptop with an 11-inch touchscreen display that detaches and can be used as a standalone tablet device. The laptop runs Windows and is powered by an Intel chip, but the tablet part runs Linux and is powered by a Snapdragon.