Intel unveils MeeGo tablet interface

The tablet UI for MeeGo Linux is built around the user, Intel has said at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, while pledging to carry on developing for mobiles despite being 'disappointed' in Nokia

Intel has shown off a developer preview of the tablet user interface for its MeeGo Linux operating system at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

At the same time on Monday, the company also addressed Nokia's withdrawal from the long-term development of MeeGo for mobile phones, with software and services chief Renee James saying the company was "disappointed" with its Finnish partner.

Intel MeeGo Linux

Intel unveiled the tablet UI, saying it is "disappointed with Nokia's decision" to switch to Windows Phone 7, said software chief Renee James. Photo credit: Damian Koh/CNET Asia

The user interface (UI) is based on dynamic panels and does not resemble the netbook variant of MeeGo — the only version to be shown off so far on a mobile computing device. The tablet UI was demonstrated by Intel systems software chief Doug Fisher, who said it was "centralised around the user... rather than applications".

"The panels can operate independently," Fisher said, explaining that a long press on various elements of the UI will call up a menu similar to that brought about by right-mouse clicks on PCs. "Traditional devices interact with the application; this interacts with the object."

Renee James, who heads up Intel's software and services efforts, said it was important that there be "an open-source alternative that is open for innovation across multiple segments of computing".

Patrick Remy, Orange's devices head, spoke at the same briefing, saying the operator's role as a supporter of MeeGo had "not changed following the recent announcements" — a reference to Nokia's decision to switch to Windows Phone 7 for its high-end devices.

"The need is still there," Remy said. "We really need that truly open ecosystem to exist and develop."

James said Intel is "obviously disappointed with Nokia's decision", but its "resolve on MeeGo is even stronger". She added that there is no plan as yet to abandon Nokia's Qt development framework for MeeGo.

"There are a lot of partners involved in MeeGo... it wasn't just an Intel and Nokia effort — it really is an industry effort," James said. "MeeGo is more of a viral community effort that's going to go forward."

At the same event, Intel mobility chief Anand Chandrasekher teased the audience with a glimpse of the company's 32nm Medfield processor, which is already sampling to manufacturers. Medfield is intended for mobile phones — a market ruled by Intel rival ARM, but one in which Intel has failed to see a single handset released.

"We will have the fastest processor, the fastest use time... and we will have the same standby time as everybody else claims," Chandrasekher said. He even taunted ARM head Warren East, boasting that Intel could "deliver faster than he can deliver and at a lower level of power than he can deliver".

According to Intel, Medfield-based smartphones will ship this year, as will MeeGo tablets.

Get more mobile news from ZDNet UK's latest updates from Mobile World Congress.


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