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MWC 2010: Nokia & Intel Merge Mobile Platforms

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Is this a brilliant plan which sees two OSes with great potential join forces for a better chance of success or ultimately the best way to quietly kill two OSes which have so far delivered lots of hype, but little of substance?

Intel and Nokia will certainly be hoping on the former after announcing the former's Moblin and the latter's Maemo platforms will merge to form 'MeeGo' - a Linux based OS designed to support multiple hardware architectures and device types.

"This is purely an open source project which we started started 8 months ago," said Intel System Software VP Doug Fisher in an interview with me. "The aim is to accelerate development under the Linux Foundation to provide a common UI {user interface} and framework. We want to reduce fragmentation, expand open platforms and ensure compatibility with the broadest number of devices for app developers and businesses."

It's a mighty aim and, interestingly, the creation of MeeGo will see apps delivered both through Nokia' s Ovi Store and the Intel AppUpSM Centre. MeeGo will also maintain compatibility with ARM-based chips and Intel's x86 architecture.

"Symbian remains our main choice for smartphones," explained Nokia Maemo VP Ari Jassksi to me in the same interview. "MeeGo devices are more likely to be mobile computers and mobile devices, though apps can be cross compatible."

This last point sounds a potentially daunting challenge, but - if successful - would certainly make life simpler for developers who are currently forced to spend most of their time rewriting their apps for different OSes rather than being able to focus on development. "We're not looking to compete with Windows," added Fisher.

It wasn't stated outright, but the strong inference was Google Chrome would be target number one, which pits Intel and Nokia against Google - is a potentially mouth-watering contest. As yet there are no official screenshots of MeeGo, but rest assured - as soon as Intel and Nokia play ball I'll slap in a second page full of them.

Update: Yes, there are some screenshots now appearing on the web, but they have been dismissed by Intel and Nokia reps so far. We'll update as news breaks - which likely won't be long.

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