MeeGo, Android compete for spotlight at Linux event

Nokia and Intel's new software platform, MeeGo, will be out on devices in the second half of this year, a MeeGo spokesman said at a Linux-focused event. Meanwhile, a representative for Google's Android platform defended the operating system from charges that it is growing too fragmented.

The dueling open-source mobile software efforts shared the spotlight at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit event in San Francisco.

"Our goal is to provide the industry with an open platform for various kinds of devices," said Ari Jaaksi, vice president of Maemo devices and operations at Nokia. "MeeGo combines two existing projects that were pretty vibrant in their own field." Nokia and Intel announced the combination of Nokia's Maemo and Intel's Moblin platform into MeeGo in February.

The software, which is based on the Qt framework, will find its way into netbooks, mobile phones and other devices in the second half of this year. However, the devices will be released into a crowded smartphone market replete with Android, Apple's iPhone OS and Research In Motion's BlackBerry platform. Without offering details, Jaaksi told NetworkWorld that, "We're going to make staggeringly good phones based on MeeGo."

Meanwhile, Chris DiBona, Google's open source program manager, noted that Android had four major releases in 2009, but he downplayed the threat Android faces from fragmentation. A recent report from IMS Research said Google needed to more effectively manage Android's growth or it will lose support from developers and see its market share gains slow. DiBona said that most developers stick to the APIs for application development, and that fragmentation could only become an issue if Android loses its technological advantages.

Dibona said he believes the smartphone market can support multiple players. "MeeGo doesn't have to lose for Android to be great; Android doesn't have to lose for MeeGo to be great," he said.

For more:
- see this NetworkWorld article
- see this GigaOM post
- see this CNet article

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