Intel's partnership with Nokia on the MeeGo Linux project appears to have hit a new level, with the two companies announcing the foundation of their first joint research and development laboratory at the University of Oulu.

Designed to be part of Intel Labs Europe, the new facility - which will employ around two dozen researchers - has been set up to research new interfaces for mobile devices in an attempt to make them easier to use, with the focus being on developing for the MeeGo mobile platform that was born out of the amalgamation of Intel's Moblin Linux and Nokia's Maemo Linux.

Rich Green, chief technology officer at mobile giant Nokia, claims that initial projects will look at integrating 3D graphics into mobile devices in the hope that "3D technology could change the way we use our mobile devices and make our experiences with them much more immersive".

Speaking about the choice of location, Intel's chief technology officer Justin Rattner claimed that "the University of Oulu’s focus on future telecommunications solutions as well as electronics and photonics made it the perfect location for the Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation Centre".

It isn't the first time that Intel has partnered with a university in order to set up a R&D centre: Intel Labs Barcelona runs in collaboration with Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, while the Intel Visual Computing Institute forms part of the Saarland University in Germany, and Intel Labs Berkeley is part of - you've probably guessed where this is going - the University of California at Berkeley in the USA.

In keeping with the Linux ethos, much of the research carried out at the lab will be released under an open-source licence - meaning that while the focus will be on MeeGo, other platforms are welcome to make use of any innovations that appear. By being the core developers of such technology, however, Intel and Nokia will give themselves - and their mobile platform - a head-start over rivals.

Do you think that 3D interfaces will be the future of mobile devices, or are Nokia and Intel barking up the wrong tree with that one? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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