Nokia and Intel Merge Moblin and Maemo to Form the MeeGo Platform

On the heels of Samsung demoing the first phone with its own bada OS, Nokia and Intel announced that they are merging Intel’s Linux-based Moblin OS with Nokia’s Maemo platform. The new, merged platform will be called MeeGo.

Although Nokia and Intel chose to make their announcement at Mobile World Congress, they imagine MeeGo running on a wide range of screen sizes, including phones, netbooks, tablets, and even connected televisions. In a nod to Microsoft, the companies made it clear they were “not going after” the PC market.

Nokia and Intel didn’t reveal what MeeGo’s interface might look like, or what differentiating features it might offer. They only promised it would offer strong application and multimedia performance, and that it would support multitasking. They added that the platform would combine the best of Moblin and Maemo, although it’s unclear to what extent MeeGo will borrow from each.

Nevertheless, there are hints as to what each company will bring to the table. The OS will run on devices for which Moblin is already available, and which Intel also has a stake at the processing level. Nokia, meanwhile, brings its apps and storefront. The Ovi store, in fact, will be the channel through users will find and download apps for their Nokia-branded MeeGo devices (non-Nokia users will have Intel’s app store). The two companies have urged their respective developer communities to merge along with Moblin and Maemo.

Nokia was also explicit in its continued support for Symbian; it will still sell phones running that OS as well.

No word yet on when consumers will have the opportunity to buy a device running MeeGo. Nokia and Intel did announce that developers would gain access to the developer’s kit sometime in the second quarter of this year. When the SDK is available, it will be hosted by the Linux Foundation.

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