What does MeeGo mean for us?

Intel and Nokia announced the merger of their Moblin and Maemo efforts for creating Linux-based mobile platforms. What does this mean for those of us looking at deployments (or simply purchases) of MIDs and related products?

To date, Moblin, Intel's mobile Linux platform, hasn't made a lot of inroads that are obvious to consumers or educators, particularly those looking to implement 1:1 with small devices. However, as one reader reader reader tweeted in response to my article this weekend on desktop Linux,

Linux will essentially power the tablets we will begin to see from various Android manufacturers, just as BSD powers the iPad.

This, of course, was Intel's plan with their Moblin project. Today, however, Intel and Nokia announced that they are merging their mobile Linux efforts (Moblin and Maemo, respectively) into a single platform called MeeGo. A standardized development environment (Qt) will accompany the effort. But what does this mean? We've heard quite a bit about Android development, more than enough about the iPad and its applications, but can Intel and Nokia take this project to the next level?

As reported in PC Magazine today,

"MeeGo can run on many different devices, [so] people will be able to keep their favorite applications whenever they change their devices," [Kai Oistano, executive vice president of devices for Nokia] said. "Applications will not be locked into one company's devices or a walled garden. Rather, we see the MeeGo ecosystem as an open frontier – no walls, no fences."

Intel and Nokia noted that "17 Linux OS vendors building Moblin-based apps, and 'everything will be merged into MeeGo'". As manufacturers scramble to roll out tablet devices, Maemo provides an opportunity for a fourth major competitor (Android, Apple, and Windows 7) in an increasingly competitive field. The expanded partnership with Nokia and merged development communities simply mean that innovative applications and devices should be on their way faster than ever. Mobile deployments, particularly 1:1, will benefit directly. Moblin is dead; long live MeeGo!

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