Nokia and Intel have announced an interesting merge at Mobile World Congress. They will be launching a new service called MeeGo – which is a blend of Nokia’s Maemo operating system with the Moblin OS. What does that mean exactly? Read on…
Maemo and Moblin
Maemo and Moblin are both operating systems for mobile devices, but that’s not their only common ground. They’re also both based on the Linux operating system – indeed, Moblin stands for “mobile Linux”. But more than just a combined operating system, the new MeeGo platform is intended to be a server-hosted platform for running mobile applications, the internet and communications. And for more than simply smartphones. Intel and Nokia want MeeGo to be accessible across smartphones, netbooks, tablets, connected TVs and more. The idea is that a consumer can access MeeGo on many different devices, but will be able to keep their apps when they switch device.
So this would be a cloud based platform?
So it seems. Both Intel and Nokia made suggestions that it may be more than that, but for the moment they are pushing it as a way for a wide variety of devices to access a shared source of services. This blends Moblin and Maemo software into one Linux based software platform, that will be useable from basically any device. It is fully open source, so that a wide range of collaborations and services will grow on MeeGo.
H0w developer friendly is it?
It is based on the Qt app development platform. Qt is a Nokia-owned framework, which provides developer tools as part of a “write once, publish anywhere” philosophy of app development. The point about CUTE is especially significant – you write your app once, developers will have an entirely new level of scale and reach.
This won’t be something that replaces what Nokia and Intel are already working 0n. They’ve been careful to ensure that anyone who has been doing development for Maemo or Moblin will be able to keep their work intact if they want to move onto MeeGo. Nokia stressed again and again that this wasn’t the end for Symbian – S60 is Nokias smartphone platform, which will be catered to by MeeGo, not replaced.
What we think?
Apparently we’ll be seeing MeeGo products for use in the 2nd quarter of 2010. As for what I think? Intel and Nokia have painted a very pretty picture – but it’s not anything we haven’t heard before. Buzz phrases like “develop once, publish anywhere”, “consistent UI”, “interconnected home” and more drifted down from the mics. MeeGo seems to be trying very hard to be absolutely everything to everyone at once – it’s being pushed as an interconnected application and service hosting platform, a developer tool-kit, an operating system for phones and every other device in existence, and a means for those devices to communicate. I was waiting for them to announce it also services your car and does your taxes. We’ll see how it turns out – both Intel and Nokia seemed to say that a lot of their current efforts will be merging into MeeGo in the future, and heavily implied we could be seeing MeeGo devices built around Nokia software on Intel hardware.
As usual with announcements like this, only time will tell.