Nokia and Intel have just announced the creation of MeeGo, a new Linux-based operating system designed for portable devices including netbooks and smartphones as well as other non-desktop platforms like connected TVs and vehicles. The new OS is a combination of Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin, both Linux-based computing environments. This partnership is notable not just for combining two different Linux platforms under one roof, but for its cross-platform support of both Intel and ARM chips, the latter currently popular in mobile devices like Apple’s iPhone thanks to its low power consumption needs.
The MeeGo operating system is designed to let developers write once and then deploy to a number of hardware platforms including everything from smartphones to netbooks and more, a popular strategy these days in an increasingly fragmented mobile world. The same strategy has also been recently embraced by Adobe, who now lets their developers write once and then deploy their Flash apps to any operating system, both desktop and laptop-based or mobile.
Applications that previously worked on Maemo or Moblin will work on the new MeeGo OS, too, say the companies. Also, the new platform is not intended to replace Nokia’s own Symbian OS, Nokia assures. Instead, using the Qt application and UI framework, developers can deploy apps to both MeeGo and other platforms, including Symbian. The resulting applications will then be marketed through Nokia’s Ovi Store, for all MeeGo and Symbian-based Nokia devices while Intel’s AppUp Center will handle the marketing of apps for Intel-based MeeGo devices.
Open Source vs. iPhone OS…and More
Both companies are positioning the new OS an open source alternative to the iPhone App Store model. Although they don’t come out and directly call out the popular Apple iPhone OS by name, they hint at it by stating that with MeeGo, people “are not locked into one kind of device or those from any individual manufacturer.”
Both companies are also preparing for a new range of tablet devices that will compete against the trail-blazing iPad. In an interview with CNet, Renee J. James, a senior vice president at Intel, affirms that “this kind of operating environment is targeted very well for a tablet-style device.”
However, the platform isn’t meant to just compete with Apple products. It will also go up against the upcoming netbook OS from Google, Chrome OS, as well as mobile, tablet, and in-car OS’s from other vendors, including Microsoft.
MeeGo will arrive in the second quarter of 2010 with products becoming available starting in the third quarter.