Nokia is in the last stage of finalizing its MeeGo 1.1 operating system, according to Nokia Senior Technology Manager Harri Hakulinen. The software platform, a blend of Nokia's Linux-based Maemo and Intel's Moblin, was first introduced at Mobile World Congress in February and is the operating system Nokia is betting on to rigorously compete against the Apple iPhone and Android-running handsets.
While the N8, Nokia's newest flagship smartphone, launched with the Symbian 3 OS, future N series handsets-the most advanced in the Nokia portfolio-will run MeeGo.
In November 2009, Nokia launched the N900, a device it calls a "mobile computer." It features a 3.5-inch touch screen and the Maemo OS. In June, the company first offered developers a preview of the MeeGo mobile phone software, and for months now a development team has been working to create a version of MeeGo that can be ported to the N900. Hakulinen said in an Oct. 13 post on the MeeGo blog that the team has "finally come to a stage that justifies proud blogging around our MeeGo for N900 adaptation project."
In mid-November, Nokia will host a MeeGo developer conference in Dublin, where Hakulinen expects to show off the completed project.
"See you there, with MeeGo on N900," he concluded his post. A debut at the Dublin event would let Nokia make good on its word that MeeGo 1.1 will arrive before the year's end.
Earlier in October, Doug Fisher, vice president of Intel's Software and Solutions Group and general manager of its Systems Software Division, said in an interview with Forbes that he expects mobile phones and most tablets that will run the MeeGo OS will not appear on the market until 2011. An exception is the WeTab from Berlin-based Neofonie, which showed off its Atom-based tablet at the Intel Developer Forum in September. MeeGo 1.1 is due out later in 2010, Fisher said.
Ovum analyst Tony Cripps has expressed doubt about MeeGo's ability to get in the way of Apple, Google Android or Microsoft. "From the perspective of most third-party developers," Cripps wrote in a June report, "MeeGo remains an unknown and unproven quantity that is entering an already highly competitive and crowded landscape."
Still, Cripps reportedly told Computerworld, "It would be wrong to write off [MeeGo's] chances until we see the merchandise." MeeGo on the N900 should give the industry a taste of what MeeGo can do.
For now, an early version of MeeGo is available for download, though Hakulinen warned that it's still a work in progress.
"At this point, I need to remind you about the basics: MeeGo is an open-source project and if you choose to install the MeeGo image [on] your N900 device, you do it completely at your own risk," Hakulinen wrote. "If you are not confident that you know what you are doing with it and why, please don't use it at all. Especially now, if you start playing with call software under development, you need to watch after your phone bill, as well. Also, please use the latest repositories only, or the next weekly image that is downloadable from the MeeGo repositories every Monday."
He added, "Development of the MeeGo 1.2 release has already started."