AMD Joins MeeGo Open-Source Project

AMD joined MeeGo, the open-source Linux project led by Intel and Nokia to be an active contributor to the mobile operating system.

Advanced Micro Devices has joined the MeeGo open-source project, to contribute "engineering expertise" to the next-generation mobile operating system, the company said on Nov. 15.

Run by the Linux Foundation, MeeGo is a mobile operating system for next-generation mobile platforms and embedded devices. AMD's rival Intel and Nokia lead the project's development efforts.

"MeeGo represents an exciting open standards-based mobile operating system that we believe will be adopted by embedded and mobile device makers over time," said Mike Silverman, AMD's senior manager to eWEEK.

The MeeGo project is a result of the merger of Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Linux Maemo software platforms earlier this year. Moblin was a custom Linux distribution for netbooks with Intel Atom processors. Maemo was designed to run on smartphones and tablets with ARM-based processors. As a combination of the two, MeeGo has expanded its operating system reach to encompass netbooks, tablets, embedded systems like in-vehicle infotainment systems, and smartphones.

AMD will provide engineering expertise intended to help establish the technical foundations for next-generation mobile platforms and embedded devices, the company said. The move comes as no surprise, despite Intel and AMD's rivalry, as AMD recently outlined its plans to move into embedded systems and mobile platforms.

"We intend to enable our mobile and embedded platforms for MeeGo to ensure optimized MeeGo performance on AMD-powered products," said Silverman.

AMD also has recently started focusing on low power chips for netbooks, tablets, and other mobile computers. Its APUs (accelerated processing units) are chips that feature x86 microprocessor cores and graphics processing engine on the same piece of silicon. By backing MeeGo's development, AMD can guide the project to ensure the company's APUs are supported.

AMD's line of APUs include Ontario, Krishna, Wichita and Zacate.

At its analyst meeting last week, AMD emphasized its plans for accelerated processing units and other opportunities available in the mobile market.

Backing MeeGo makes sense for AMD even as the company continues to focus on its netbook market. Even with the boom in tablet popularity, industry analysts predict several more years of "sustained, healthy growth" in the global netbook market, and AMD will continue to focus on growth in the "largest margin pools in our industry" said Silverman.

The company will "ramp our tablet efforts" when the market is large enough to "justify it," said Silverman. The AMD Fusion API product family combines CPU, graphics processing and low-power capabilities, and is ideal for the tablet market, Silverman said. AMD's "differentiated offerings" will be designed for great graphics and video technology "when the time is right," he said.

The announcement was made at the MeeGo Conference in Dublin, attended by MeeGo developers, project contributors, OEM partners and integrators interested in working with the platform. The first MeeGo devices are expected to hit the market sometime in 2011.

As a gold level member of the Linux Foundation, AMD is part of a number of Linux projects, such as contributing code to the kernel. AMD also has a seat on the Linux Foundation's board of directors.