When it comes to putting Ubuntu Linux on mobile devices, Canonical has two flavors of their popular Linux distribution to suit the needs of vendors and end-users: Ubuntu Netbook Remix and Ubuntu MID. The former targets netbook computers (hence its name), particularly those with Intel Atom processors, and brings a unique interface atop GNOME. The Ubuntu MID edition is targeted for very small netbooks and mobile Internet devices. Particularly, Ubuntu MID aims to be on handheld devices and those with 4-7" touch-screens. Beyond having a different user interface, Ubuntu MID is spun with LPIA packages instead of the i386 package-set. LPIA is quite similar to i386, but targets the Low-Power Intel Architecture with different compile-time optimizations. With the low-power focus, will this distribution extend your battery life? Yes, our results today show that the power consumption can be cut down by greater than 10%.
For this testing we used the beta edition of the Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix (shown above) and the beta edition of Ubuntu 9.04 MID (shown below). All testing was done on a Samsung NC10 netbook with 2GB of RAM and each distribution was installed one at a time to an OCZ Core Series V2 32GB SSD.
Monitoring the battery consumption on Ubuntu MID and Ubuntu Netbook Remix was the Phoronix Test Suite. During testing, both Ubuntu Netbook Remix and Ubuntu MID were left in their stock configurations, aside from having to install the X.Org Synaptics driver on the MID version. Ubuntu MID is not exactly targeted for a 10" netbook, but it is compatible as the Low-Power Intel Architecture is found with Intel A1xx and Atom processors.
For this basic power testing, we set the Phoronix Test Suite to monitor the battery consumption rate for five minutes. During that time, we opened the web-browser, stopped by Phoronix.com, went through the available menus on the desktop, opened up the file browser, launched the calculator, and carried out other basic Linux desktop tasks before letting the netbook idle for the remainder of the time. The Phoronix Test Suite reads the battery power consumption rate using the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface.