MWC: Nokia, Intel Partner on Linux-Based MeeGo Platform

At the Mobile World Congress (MWC) convention in Barcelona, Intel and Nokia step up their alliance by announcing MeeGo, a Linux-based software platform that aims to support multiple hardware architectures across multiple platforms.

Handset maker Nokia and chip set giant Intel announced a partnership to merge the existing Maemo and Moblin global programming communities into MeeGo, a Linux-based software platform that will support multiple hardware architectures across a broad range of device segments, including pocketable mobile computers, netbooks, tablets, media phones, connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment systems.

MeeGo offers the Qt application development environment, and builds on the Moblin core operating system and reference user experiences. Using Qt, developers can write once to create applications for a variety of devices and platforms, and market them through Nokia's Ovi Store and Intel AppUpSM Center, said Nokia's executive vice president of devices, Kai Öistämö. He said MeeGo will be hosted by the Linux Foundation and governed using the best practices of the open-source development model. The first release of MeeGo is expected in the second quarter of 2010, with devices launching later in the year.

"This collaboration benefits developers, consumers, and software and hardware vendors. It's a complete Internet experience," he said, noting the company's Ovi application store will be the main channel of distribution for applications built using MeeGo. "Applications and other content are not in a walled garden, rather the ecosystem is more like an open frontier."

The partnership builds on the companies' strategic collaboration announced in June 2009, and Intel's senior vice president and general manager of Intel's software and services group, Renee James, invited participation in MeeGo from existing Maemo and Moblin global communities and across the communications and computing industries. "We are encouraging community contributions at and encouraging wider participation from the communications industry," she said. "We will continue to collaborate and contribute, allowing partners to build value-add onto MeeGo."

Öistämö said MeeGo builds on the capabilities of the Moblin core OS and its support for a wide range of device types and reference user experiences, combined with the momentum of Maemo in the mobile industry and the "broadly adopted" Qt application and UI framework for software developers. He said using Qt for application development means developers can write applications once and easily deploy them on MeeGo and across other platforms, for example, on Symbian. "We are not going to favor any particular OEM or hardware architecture," he said. "MeeGo will create a shared, single platform, which will drive the future of mobile computing."

When asked if Nokia and Intel will collaborate more closely in the future on the hardware end, perhaps resulting in Nokia phones running Intel chip sets, both speakers declined to offer specifics, but Öistämö said it would be "natural" to take the best hardware for future devices, suggesting Nokia phones with Intel chips in the future. However, Öistämö and James reiterated MeeGo was an opportunity for developers to create applications from which many hardware manufacturers across several different markets could benefit. The aim of MeeGo is to be "broadly adoptable across several devices from different manufacturers," Öistämö said.