Intel, Nokia: Promoting MeeGo vs. Google Android?
Intel and Nokia, partners on the MeeGo operating system, made bold statements at LinuxCon that seem to implicate their desire to counter Google in the mobile market. There weren’t any fighting words, but the stage is set for a showdown. Here are some perspectives..
First, a very polite tip of the hat goes to ArsTechnica’s Ryan Paul who had the detailed story. The key take-away points were this:
- MeeGo has been endorsed by the Linux foundation, which means that there is a concerted effort for collaboration on the platform.
- Nokia plans on releasing a device with MeeGo in the very near future, promising some interesting user interface and usage
- MeeGo is built from a more traditional form of Linux, thus allowing a much greater swath of development tools and applications
- There will be continual access to source code of MeeGo, unlike Google’s Android OS, in which new iterations are kept private in-house and not shared until release
Why Google Should Worry
In the world of Linux, the ability for custom distributions, forks and variations in software, customization in software and the open-source-nature of everything sets the stage for numerous twists and turns. This blogger envisions a world of handsets that resembles the early PC market — where you can buy a handset — blank, without software — and go home and load up the mobile OS distribution of your choice.
Developers who are comfy in their native development environment can squeeze out every last trick they can code, creating applications and user experiences as best they know how. With a more desktop-Linux at the core, expect the OS to do much more and manage multitasking apps better. Community acceptance of a particular platform or software with no restrictions appeals to a lot of the Linux community and Nokia’s knowledge of building solid handsets ramps up that potential for something fresh, new and paradigm changing.
Why Intel and Nokia Don’t Have a Prayer
Android OS has such a jump on MeeGo in terms of adoption and apps that MeeGo has to really step up, especially since Android OS already has a distribution channel, is tailored to handsets, and has a thriving apps marketplace. Ryan Paul noted that Intel and Nokia wanted to make MeeGo “inclusive,” by not locking it down to a single app store, developmental software, or anything else. But Paul also noted that Nokia said building an app store was “hell.” Unlimited choices are great, but guidelines aren’t too bad either. Remember, your mobile device should be a cohesive piece of technology.
What’s more, let’s not forgot about Google Chrome OS, which is a more desktop-Linux based distribution already rumored to be coming to larger mobile and tablet devices in the not-too-distant future.
It’s too soon to call, we don’t even have a mobile MeeGo device in hand, nor does this blogger have any experience with MeeGo. But if MeeGo makes itself available on handsets that were once Android-based, that could be a huge game changer for adoption. Time will tell. And while iOS and Android diverge and take their own paths to how a mobile user experience should be, this might be the true Apples-to-Apples Linux contender for Google to worry about.