‘McCaslin’ UMPCs will be Linux-powered

Ten days ago, we heard rumors that Intel was cooking up a next-generation ultra-mobile PC platform code-named “McCaslin” with a brand new processor and chipset. The new hardware was said to reduce power consumption substantially and to help increase battery life to around 4-5 hours. ZDNet now reports that those devices won’t just pack new hardware—they’ll also shun Microsoft operating systems.

The site says McCaslin systems will be dubbed Mobile Internet Devices, or MIDs. The devices will have display sizes ranging from 4.5″ to 6″—a wee bit smaller than current UMPC displays—and they will run an embedded Linux-based operating system with “a mix of open-source and proprietary code.” ZDNet adds that the MID interface will be “finger-friendly” and based on the Gnome desktop, which is included by default in popular distributions like Fedora Core and Ubuntu. Unlike those distros, however, the MID operating system will have a master user interface that will be layered on top of the Gnome desktop. According to ZDNet, MIDs will be marketed as devices for “staying in touch” and accessing entertainment, information, and web services like Google Maps and web-based office software.

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