In a (desperate?) power play Intel and Nokia announced MeeGo - a merger of its Mobilin and Maemo operating systems - at Mobile World Congress in February. Expect it didn't really: there were no demos, no screenshots and no talk of hardware. In fact all we knew was it happened. So at last here's some meat to put on those bones...
First we get screenshots and very Windows Phone 7 they are too with nice minimalistic icons, multi-touch and scrolling pages. What is more important than this superficiality, however, is what sort of hardware support we can expect.
To this end the list of companies is extensive, but not exactly thrilling comprising *deep breath* Acer, Amino, Asianux, Asus, BMW Group, Collabora, Ltd., CS2C, DeviceVM, EA Mobile, Gameloft, Hancom, Linpus, Maemo Community Council, Mandriva, Metasys, Miracle, MontaVista Software, Novell, PixArt, Red Flag, ST-Ericsson, Tencent, TurboLinux, VietSoftware, Wind River, WTEC, and Xandros.
Acer and Asus standout (as does BMW for in-car entertainment), but all the big handset and PC makers are left off the list which doesn't bode particularly well. MeeGo hardware will have to feature integrated 3G (phone or laptop), GPS, WiFi, VoIP, instant messaging, social networking integration, a camera/webcam and - interestingly - 'Fennec' (ie: Firefox Mobile) which places them in line with the seemingly stuttering smartbook sector.
Until we know more though, I'm filing MeeGo under 'interesting but unproven'.
In related news InfoWorld reports Intel said has managed to make Google's Android operating system compatible with its x86 based Atom processors. The move is seen as Intel's attempt to push Atom into the smartphone sector currently dominated by ARM-based designs such as Qualcomm's Snapdragon. It could also be seen as a measure to stamp out the smartbook market since the format is already struggling with delay upon delay.
In yet more related news Intel has celebrated its "best first quarter ever" (profits up a massive 288 per cent year-on-year) by telling CNet "The next innovation coming out on Atom is dual core, which comes out in the second quarter." This would need to be netbook focused, since dual core Atoms have featured in nettops for some time. That said, dual core Atoms have been largely useless up to now, so let's hope the diminutive form factor will finally get enough grunt not to feel like computing suddenly regressed 10 years.
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