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PCW: Intel, Dell Innovate for Mobile Users, Windows Sleeps

PCW: Intel, Dell Innovate for Mobile Users, Windows Sleeps

by , 1:15 PM EDT, August 19th, 2008

Dell, Intel and their partners have sidestepped Windows and developed some key technologies for mobile users, according to PCWorld. For example, users can check e-mail without booting Windows on a Dell notebook. This is a disaster for Microsoft.

The technology is called "Latitude ON," and according to Mike Elgan with PCWorld, it could also be called 'Windows OFF."

The goal of the project, previously called "BlackTop," was to give notebook computer users the kinds of functionality that a BlackBerry has: instant access to e-mail and messaging.

That's achieved by adding a second, low-power ARM processor, flash storage and a modified SUSE Linux separate from the notebook's main CPU and Windows OS.

As a result, users can instantly check their e-mail, and messages from the Internet can force a wake up from sleep. The Linux system also has viewers for PDF documents. With the Latitude ON system, the battery lasts for days instead of hours.

"From a Microsoft perspective, Latitude ON represents a debacle comparable to the UMPC disaster," Mr. Elgan noted. "Microsoft led a big push to drive sales of Vista-based Ultra-Mobile PCs, all of which failed catastrophically in the market, rejected by users in favor of first Linux, then XP-based subnotebooks."

Mr. Elgan summed up with this observation: "Now, Microsoft is on the sidelines while its closest partners innovate using companies that compete with Microsoft in the software marketplace. When will Microsoft itself wake up from 'sleep mode'?"

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