They were already known to be sharing technology with regards to their separate Linux OS efforts but now Intel and Nokia are to merge their respective distributions.
Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo operating systems are to be combined into a new Linux-based OS called MeeGo that will target “multiple hardware platforms across a wide range of computing devices, including pocketable mobile computers, netbooks, tablets, mediaphones, connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment systems.”
Intel is desperate to get its chips into devices that aren’t a traditional PC and Nokia needs a viable and developer-friendly platform to replace Symbian as the latter moves further down into mass-market smart phones that in-turn are replacing feature phones.
But the array of devices targeted by MeeGo also suggests that the move is designed to go head on with Google, both Android, which is finding itself running on more and more non-smartphone hardware, and Chrome OS designed for netbooks. And by extension, Apple’s iPad too.
More from the press release:
- MeeGo-based devices from Nokia and other manufacturers are expected to be launched later this year.
- MeeGo offers the Qt application development environment, and builds on the capabilities of 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.
- Nokia and Intel expect MeeGo to be adopted widely by global device manufacturers, network operators, semiconductor companies, software vendors and developers.
- Since MeeGo runs on multiple device types, people can keep their favorite applications when they change devices, so they are not locked into one kind of device or those from any individual manufacturer.
The last point (my emphasis) is clearly a dig at Apple, although closed or open, MeeGo faces the same challenge as any new platform: getting developers to switch their attention away from competitors who have far more traction.
Although having two brands as big as Intel and Nokia won’t do any harm.
What I’m less clear on – the details are a little hazy – is how much convergence will happen on the User Interface side. Will Nokia keep Maemo’s UI for its use of MeeGo – I’m currently reviewing the N900 running Maemo and it’s very nice UI-wise – or will a merged UI materialize?
From my understanding, Nokia hasn’t ruled out keeping the Maemo brand, in which case it sounds like the former. If that is indeed the case then the UI remains fragmented, not too similar to the old days of Symbian and we all know how that panned out.