I wrote about this (in Finnish) already couple days ago in another blog. And thought I still should write something about the thing right here.
Nokia announced in their shadow event in Barcelona that they will be joining forces with Intel and merging Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin. The new Linux based OS is called MeeGo. You can find more details from the Nokia Press release. Let’s look few things in the release.
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.
From the above quote of the press release we can draw conclusions that the MeeGo will be built around the Moblin core. I assume this means that the Maemo core be the donor of good bits to the Moblin core in MeeGo. The Qt environment is good news since Nokia was planning to use Qt on Maemo and Symbian anyways. Qt also enables the developers to develop their applications for Qt and not for Maemo AND Symbian, making the development process easier. Also I have understood that the scalability of Qt is way better than it was in Symbian. ..where there really is no scalability, you have to code your application according to the device specs, which means there should be multiple versions available to suit all of the Nokia devices. This said, Nokia has been tryin to unify the devices and Symbian S60 versions in smartphones so 2 or 3 different software versions would be enough to cover majority of their smartphones.
According to the press release, MeeGo will be hosted by the Linux Foundation, like Moblin was before. Keeping the OS open source is really the only option to gain competitive advantage over the cometiotrs which are closed projects.
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.
Also, according to the quote above, the merging of the two into MeeGo is going to be rather easy task, since they expect MeeGo based devices in the market already during this year and that they will launch the first release of MeeGo in the Q2 of 2010.
I am curious to see how the developers take this move. I have read mostly positive comments in blogs and discussion boards, but it depends on Nokia and Intel how this things turns out. In his blog Henri Bergius wrote excellent post about the importance of the community involvement for Maemo and the future of MeeGo.
… Providing all or some of these services as part of the MeeGo infrastructure would enable the community to feel involvement, and even ownership in the new project that is shaping up. This is critical for a project that has such a big reliance on new innovation and connectivity with the upstream, especially at the time of such big change.
The Maemo community has been very active and lot of users as well as developers have participated the discussions. In my opinion this is priceless and important for a any open source project. When the users and developers both feel like their input is relevant to the hole community, even in a small detail, the community is more eager and motivated to deliver new innovations and producing the best possible products. Even though the Maemo community has been relatively small, they have been able to produce lot of quality applications for Maemo device as well as new updates for the Maemo itself. I still refuse to give or throw away my beloved Nokia N810 Internet Tablet. It has been the most exciting and only really interesting Nokia product I have had in years.
Now, If we look back at the announcing of the MeeGo, I have to add a quote of Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the Nokia CEO:
MeeGo will drive an even wider range of Internet computing and communication experiences for consumers, on new types of mobile devices. Through open innovation, MeeGo will create an ecosystem that is second to none, drawing in players from different industries. It will support a range of business models across the value chain, building on the experience and expertise of Nokia, Intel and all those who will join us. Simply put, MeeGo heralds a new era of mobile computing.
From between the lines we can read that Nokia will be announcing different types of mobile devices in near future. Also all this means MeeGo will be used in the night end smartphones and that the Symbian will find its way down in the model range and possibly S60 will replace the S40 in all but the entry level phones. This is logical since lot of the features in the top end phones are finding their way down int he range as well. The cameras are getting better, more and more models have GPS chip in them and phones are used more and more for not only talking and sms’ing.
MeeGo will also find its way into other manufacturers’ phones like Symbian did back in the day. In fact LG has already announced that their new model will be running MeeGo, making the LG GW990 the first MeeGo phone. Now we just have to wait and see who else will jump in and come up with MeeGo phones during this year, or any other MeeGo device for that matter.
Nokia and Intel launched an introduction video in YouTube about the Maemo + Moblin = MeeGo.
Paul Otellini, Intel President and CEO:
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. This is a foundational step in our evolving relationship with Nokia. The merging of these two important assets into an open source platform is critical toward providing a terrific experience across a variety of devices and gaining cross- industry support.
Now, let’s look at the competition a bit. MeeGo will be very advanced and well developed and it has the advantage of being something new and not something that has been built over numerous old versions, like the Symbian with its different versions.
Google’s Android is also open source mobile OS and is new. It does not have the burden of having to have compatibility down several versions. Android has been well received and has active application developer group. Also many manufacturers have chosen Android as their cup of tea. For example HTC has announced many Android devices and also Google brought its own Android device, the Google Nexus One. Google is also planning to launch Nexus Two which is a phone targeted for business users.
Research In Motion’s (RIM) Blackberry is de facto business smartphone in the United States and has a strong application developer network behind them. RIM has not really done anything revolutionary or innovative, but they have been able to do well what they are doing. The devices look good and are nice to use as well as have the right features. RIM is in a good place, but they need to start innovating to maintain their appeal.
Windows Mobile 7 is going to be interesting. It must be better than the 6.5 in all fields, but the feature list looks good enough. The advantage of Windows Mobile is the integration to other Microsoft systems. They have been struggling and losing market share especially to the iPhone, but Microsoft is not giving up easily. Windows Mobile 7 just might be the wildcard!
Then there is the Apple iPhone. The phone that has gained market share and won even my heart despite the flaws I have posted about them earlier. The usability and the easiness of the whole experience is something other manufacturers can only dream of. The App Store is easy to use and installing the Apps is a breeze. You know that every app will work as the developer meant to in your iPhone. Apple has been able to maintain the magic even though they have only offered minor updates and facelifts to the device since the first model was launched in 2007. The hardware and some software features are nowhere near of the competitors, but peopel still like the phones.
Now, what about MeeGo? Where does it stand in this crowd of mobile operating systems? MeeGo will definately be the fresh breath of air to Nokia devices to come. I have said earlier that Nokia made a big mistake when they decided just to doodle around with Maemo on Internet Tablets and did not seriously consider it as the main OS in their phones. Things are changing. MeeGo will have the opportunity to compete wiht Android and Windows Mobile and if many enough manufacturers choose MeeGo as their OS, they will be strong.
Also working with Intel enables MeeGo to enter other markets than just smartphones. Intel being american company might also help Nokia in the american markets where they have not been able to really break through. Nokia is also investing money and resources into mobile and online services and through MeeGo they will have a channel for these services. In a way with MeeGo and Nokia’s online services they might become the mobile world’s Google who has maps, photo servies, email services, etc. This makes things even more interesting when Google is entering the mobile markets with services, OS AND now with even their own devices.
The future of mobile devices definitely look more interesting now. Not that it was looking dull in the first place. I hope this gives all the competitors in the field some new boost for innovations. Let’s see how things evolve from here on. The future is bright and lot of exciting things are on our way!