Intel merges MeeGo with LiMO platform
The two mobile Linux efforts combine to gain greater scale and carrier appeal, but too late to be an Android alternative on handsets
Published: 28 September, 2011
Yet more shifts in the mobile Linux world, as Intel places its platform into a combined effort for a second time.This time, MeeGo is being fused with the LiMO Foundation's OS, having itself been created when Intel merged Moblin with Nokia's Maemo. The defection of Nokia left MeeGo marooned, rather like LiMO, whose best efforts to provide a carrier driven, vendor neutral platform were consistently overshadowed by the rise of Android.
There is little chance that the combined platform, to be called Tizen, will have any more success in robbing Android and iOS of their position on handsets. However, like MeeGo - whose biggest acceptance has come in the in-car market - Tizen may find a role in the 'internet of things', as an increasingly diverse range of devices requires an embedded browser and connectivity, and an OS to support them.
A fully open Linux implementation could fulfil this role in markets where there is no dominant vendor driven platform. But while that might give Intel some useful influence in the embedded space, where it is starting to push Atom, it is effectively abandoning MeeGo in its primary mobile drive, in smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks. Here, it now seems more likely to support Android and Windows, recognizing that it will not succeed in making an own-controlled OS dominant.
Tizen will address consumer devices, netbooks, smart TVs, in-car systems and other products, said the combined statement from the LiMO Foundation and the Linux Foundaiton (which hosts MeeGo). The initial combined release is scheduled for the first quarter of next year, with devices to follow around midyear. A development environment will be created, based around HTML5 and the carrier driven WAC (Wholesale Application Community), revealing LiMO's roots as an attempt to provide an operator friendly alternative to Android and iOS.
That bid gained credibility when Vodafone built its web platform, 360, around LiMO, but the cellco then switched its attention to Android and the independent OS's star faded. The steering committee running the development of Tizen will be led by Intel and, on the LiMO side, its biggest handset supporter, Samsung, adding yet another OS commitment to its portfolio.
Morgan Gillis, executive director of the LiMO Foundation, said his group saw Tizen as "a well timed step change which unites major mobile Linunx proponents within a renewed ecosystem with an open web vision of application development, which will help device vendors to innovate through software and liberalize access to consumers for developers and service providers."