The open-source, Linux-based MeeGo mobile operating system (OS) created from the merger of Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo platforms may be headed for a comeback thanks to LG Electronics. Once the future of Nokia's high-end smartphones, MeeGo was abandoned by Nokia in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone in February of this year. Without Nokia's involvement, MeeGo's chances in the marketplace appeared dim.
But now, according to a member of MeeGo's steering committee, the OS is seeing renewed interest from other handset makers, including new committee member LG.
LG Considers MeeGo for Cars
Reuters confirmed that LG joined the MeeGo working group, along with others including ZTE and China Mobile. The handset maker's involvement is a promising move for MeeGo, explained technical steering committee member Valtteri Halla, who spoke at developer conference on Friday about the matter. "It's opening opportunities for the others to come in. Discussions are taking place. You'll see things coming out this year, pretty soon," he said.
However, LG's activity with the MeeGo group doesn't necessarily mean there will be LG-branded MeeGo smartphones anytime soon. Reuters confirmed with a company spokesperson that the company is indeed collaborating with MeeGo, but, the spokesperson said, "LG has no definitive plans to mass produce devices with MeeGo other than car infotainment systems."
LG's Timing Points to Android Concerns?
LG may not want to go on record that it's exploring alternatives to Android for its smartphones, but it's hard to not comment on the timing of this announcement. Earlier this month, Google's Android chief Andy Rubin took to the company's public blog to defend against reports by the press that spoke of how Google's mobile operating system was becoming more locked-down in recent months - a move that's been upsetting Google's Android partners.
Citing nearly a dozen executive-level sources, an article in Bloomberg Business claimed that Google has begun exercising more control over Android, forcing all licensees to submit their plans to Google for approval before being provided with early access to the most up-to-date version of Android. Google now wants to approve all its licensees' plans, said Bloomberg, including those for new partnerships, plans for interface changes, the addition of new services and other code changes.
Google has typically pitched Android as an "open" alternative to Apple's closed iOS mobile operating system, but it seems like now, it's only open to a point. The software's code is open-sourced, but handset makers know that early access prior to the code's public release is key to a competitive strategy.
LG isn't the first manufacturer to place bets outside of Android's ecosystem. Motorola, too, is reportedly considering its own Android alternative in the form of a Web-based OS. In addition, Samsung has a fairly successful strategy with its own bada smartphone operating system.
Image credit: The Nokia Blog