Intel Continues to Cut Microsoft from Netbooks with New Atom SDK

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Other than the first Linux-powered netbooks, the market for small laptops is dominated by “WinTel”, just as it is for larger laptops — Intel chips running Windows. But then Intel decided to get involved deeper at the software level and the Moblin project. Moblin is a mobile Linux distro targeted specifically for Intel Atom netbooks and is actually fun and refreshing to use in my experience. So what was once Windows on an Intel platform is now an Intel-backed version of Linux. It doesn’t stop there, however. In September we heard about the Moblin Garage, which sounded like an app store for netbooks running Moblin. And today, Intel is releasing the beta of its beta version of the Intel Atom Developer Program Software Development Kit.

Yes, the SDK is for development on Windows as well as Moblin, but I think that’s a necessary evil — Intel has to play both sides of the fence in case Moblin doesn’t gain any market traction. I find it interesting though that the SDK download for Moblin is above the Windows download — subtle, but interesting. And if you think this isn’t for an app store model, maybe some FAQs from the Intel Atom Developer site will convince you:

What is the business model? How do I make money?

  • Developers will set the price for their applications and will receive up to 70% of the revenue from every sale from every store. Infrastructure operational expenses and partner revenue will be covered from the remaining portion.
  • Developers can choose to use some of their revenue in exchange for things like promotion.
  • Developers can also build and sell application components the Developer Store in exchange for a % share of revenue from every application sold which uses their component.

Sounds like an app store to me and with those types of incentives, Intel is hoping to pull some developers into the Moblin world and offer a better netbook experience. Have a look at my hands-on video with Moblin 2.1 to see the simple but effective interface with just a few apps.

[wpvideo raZwRCqp w=560]

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