August 24, 2010

Nokia and Intel Announce Positive Response to MeeGo; New Joint Laboratory

It’s not exactly news that Nokia hasn’t been doing much that is likely to put the marketing and sales departments for Apple’s iPhone or Google’s Android (News - Alert) into a cold sweat, at least in the U.S. But the company announced today, in concert with partner chip maker Intel, that the two companies’ open-source initiative, announced in February, is taking off, particularly in Europe.

“Take-up is really positive,” said Mika Setala, director of industry alliances at Nokia (News - Alert). Earlier this year, the two firms revealed a partnership to develop MeeGo, a venture that combines Nokia’s Linux Maemo smart phone software platform and Intel’s (News - Alert) Moblin (short for “Mobile Linux”), an open-source operating system for mobile Internet devices. MeeGo is a Linux-based open source mobile operating system created by Nokia and Intel from the merger of their respective Maemo and Moblin systems. At the time of the initial announcement, the companies indicated that the reason behind the merger was to fill a gap: Microsoft (News - Alert) was not offering comprehensive Windows 7 support for the Atom processor, Intel’s line of ultra low-voltage microprocessors designed for mobile devices and net books.

According to the two companies, the joint initiative is doing well. “The MeeGo community is active, vibrant,” said Martin Curley, head of Intel Labs Europe. Developers for MeeGo can use the Qt app development environment and market their apps through Nokia's Ovi Store or Intel’s AppUp Center.

On Tuesday, Nokia and Intel also announced the opening of their first joint laboratory, located at the University of Oulu in Finland. The purpose of the laboratory, which is an arm of Intel Labs Europe, will be to develop new 3-D mobile technologies. Rather far-out stuff at this point, 3D mobile innovations may, in the future, allow handheld devices to project holograms of the person the phone user is calling.

“3D technology could change the way we use our mobile devices and make our experiences with them much more immersive,” said Rich Green, senior vice president and chief technical officer of Nokia. “Our new joint laboratory with Intel draws on the Oulu research community's 3D interface expertise, and over time will lay down some important foundations for future mobile experiences.”

A joint hardware venture may be in the works, but not in the near future, said Setala. “We are still exploring possibilities for joint hardware, but there is nothing to announce.”

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison




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