Intel and Nokia combine to make new mobile OS

Written by Alex Watson

February 15, 2010 // 2 p.m.

Tags: #apps #intel #linux #maemo #meego #moblin #nokia #os #ovi-store #smartphone #tablet

With the iPhone going from strength to strength, Android gaining in popularity and mobile App stores predicted to be worth £3.8 billion this year, it’s not surprising that companies trailing Apple and Google are looking for ways to jumpstart their mobile businesses. Intel, desperate to be a bigger player in the market for tablets and smartphones and Nokia, still the world’s largest retailer of mobile devices, have announced they’re combining their efforts.

The companies will merge Intel’s Mobilin and Nokia’s Maemo operating systems to create MeeGo, a Linux-based OS that will “support multiple hardware architectures across the broadest range of device segments, including pocketable mobile computers, netbooks, tablets, mediaphones, connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment systems.

As you might expect, Intel and Nokia’s praise for each other was only exceeded by their expectations for the new mobile OS. “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,” said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO, Nokia added: “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.

While MeeGo is a unified OS, some traces of company specific divisions remains – the press release says the Ovi Store will be the channel to market for apps and content for all Nokia devices, while the Intel AppUp Center will be used for Intel-based MeeGo devices from other device manufacturers.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the press release is the promise that “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.

One element conspicuously absent from the press release was any mention of Nokia producing smartphones or other devices using Intel x86 CPUs as opposed to the ARM CPUs more commonly found in mobile phones – and as we explored on the blog last week, ARM’s increasing attractiveness for a wide range of hardware designs is something that Intel would do well to fear.

The first MeeGo devices, including a Nokia phone, are due before the end of the year. Interested in this new mobile OS? Or do Apple and Google have the market sewn up already? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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