February 14, 2010

Intel and Nokia Merge Mobile Linux Initiatives to Introduce MeeGo

Intel and Nokia, two of tech’s biggest titans, today announced the new Linux-based software platform called MeeGo, which merges the popular Moblin and Maemo projects and sets the companies’ sights on a new generation of computing devices, applications and services. The first release of MeeGo is expected in the second quarter of 2010 with devices launching later this year. 

This move is significant given the companies’ market leadership positions. Recent reports indicate that Intel enjoys 79.7 percent of the microprocessor market while Nokia commands 40 percent of the worlwide smartphone market, though MeeGo is being positioned for much more than smartphones. MeeGo Logo

MeeGo will be hosted by The Linux Foundation where it will aim to build broad industry collaboration using the open source development model. The world’s largest chip maker and largest mobile device company say that by working collaboratively and merging the technologies, they can accelerate product innovation and expand market opportunities for developers. The companies report that MeeGo supports multiple hardware architectures across the broadest range of device segments.

Nokia's CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, said, "Through open innovation, MeeGo will create an ecosystem that is second to none, drawing in players from multiple industries." He added, "Simply put, MeeGo heralds a new era of mobile computing."

The announcement was unveiled today at a press conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where details were provided by Intel senior executives Renee James and Doug Fisher and Nokia’s Executive Vice President of Devices, Kai Öistämö, and Vice President, Maemo Devices, Ari Jaaksi. Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin, Intel CEO Paul Ottelini and Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo were also in attendance.

MeeGo is expected to power new devices that include pocketable mobile computers, netbooks, tablets, mediaphones, connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment systems. It appears that Symbian will remain, at least for now, a platform for Nokia’s phones, especially their entry-level phones. Intel and Nokia define next-generation computing devices as ones that are pocket-sized, based on open standards and combine multi-tasking and ubiquitous connectivity to deliver a transformative user experience.

Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini said, "Our vision for seamlessly communicating between computing devices from the home, auto, office, or your pocket is taking a big step forward today with the introduction of MeeGo."

MeeGo uses the Qt application development envrionement, which should help bridge development among Symbian, Windows, Mac and other platforms. The cross-platform application and UI framework is well known and widely used because of how easy it makes it for developers to write their apps once and deploy them across devices and platforms. Skype for example, used Qt to create its application, which is available on Windows, Mac and Linux.

The Linux Foundation's Jim Zemlin said, "MeeGo has been built from the ground up for rich, mobile devices and will deliver choice to consumers without lock-in. For developers, they will have the power of the Qt platform across a multitude of devices and architectures giving them an incredible opportunity to innovate and reach uses."

MeeGo initially includes two reference UI implementations, one for netbooks and one for pocketable mobile computers. Intel and Nokia say they will continue to contribute to upstream open source projects such as X.org, D-BUS, tracker, GStreamer, Pulseaudio and Mozilla.

Get more details in this video interview with Intel's Doug Fisher and Nokia's Ari Jaaksi:

More information can be accessed at http://www.linuxfoundation.org/meego.

* Disclosure: Linux.com is a Linux Foundation web property.

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