Maemo and Moblin combine into MeeGo

The new, unified open-source platform for phones and netbooks will 'reduce fragmention', Nokia and Intel have said.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Maemo and Moblin are to combine into a single open-source platform called MeeGo, Nokia and Intel announced at Mobile World Congress on Monday.

The platform will run across smartphones, mobile internet devices (MIDs), netbooks, tablets, connected TVs, connected cars and media phones, the companies announced.

Maemo is Nokia's Linux-based operating system for its N900-series handsets, while Moblin is Intel's Linux-based OS for MIDs and netbooks.

"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 chief executive Paul Otellini in a statement. "This is a foundational step in our evolving relationship with Nokia."

In June, Intel and Nokia announced a partnership to work together on open-source mobile Linux, with the aim of developing common technologies for Moblin and Maemo.

MeeGo will work across both x86 and ARM architecture platforms. The code will be released in the second quarter of 2010, with devices following later in the year.

"You can look at the future of Maemo merging into MeeGo with no delay," Nokia devices chief Kai Oistamo said at the launch event. "You can look at [the upcoming] Maemo 6 as completely compatible [with MeeGo]."

Oistamo added that the next release of Symbian, the open-source smartphone OS, will also feature "forward compatibility" with MeeGo.

Intel software and services chief Renee James said existing Moblin devices would run MeeGo. She denied that more fully-featured notebooks would run MeeGo, adding: "The PC market is well addressed by Microsoft and Windows — that's not what we're going after today."

MeeGo will use the Qt graphical toolkit. "Operator partners will be able to build a broad range of applications and services on top of the platform," Ostamo said. He also noted that MeeGo owed a lot to the "successful launch" of the Nokia N900, which last year became the first cellular network-enabled Maemo device to go on the market.

Oistamo added that the advent of MeeGo would "reduce fragmentation". Members of both the Maemo and Moblin open-source communities are being invited to join the new, combined community, which is hosted by the Linux Foundation.

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