Mobile operator Orange got behind the Nokia-Intel founded Linux initiative MeeGo on Wednesday, anticipating the creation of a new channel for the delivery of consumer multimedia services.
MeeGo was unveiled at Barcelona in February as a merger of Intel and Nokia’s respective Linux initiatives, to create a software platform spanning a range of consumer electronics from mobile phones to netbooks.
Intel is contributing its Moblin platform, which will be merged with Nokia’s Maemo platform and the Nokia-owned cross platform application environment, Qt.
With the operator’s backing, Intel and Orange will work to increase the availability of Orange Signature Services, such as Orange TV and Orange Maps, to be supported by the MeeGo and Intel Atom environment.
“Seventy-five per cent of our customer base has yet to embrace the mobile internet. With the increasing number of phones and operating systems for customers to choose from, it is our role to make sure our customer’s journey into this richer mobile multimedia environment is simple and easy,” said Yves Maitre, SVP of devices at Orange. “Our collaboration with Intel on the MeeGo software platform will not only ensure a broader choice in terms of screens and devices, but that customers continue to benefit from a consistent user experience delivered through Orange Signature services, including a customized home-screen they trust and recognize, the highest quality network and secure and simplified billing.”
The companies aim to establish a common software framework across multiple devices, ranging from smartphones and tablets to netbooks. An ambitious initiative, but as Ovum analyst Tony Cripps at Barcelona, the real win is in tying developers to the MeeGo platform.
“Turning MeeGo into a mainstream platform for CE will be no mean achievement in its own right. However, it will ultimately be largely meaningless how many devices it is deployed on if the consistency provided by the underlying OS is not matched by its ability to provide a true multi-screen application platform for developers.
“For that to happen, several things need to occur. First, Nokia needs to prove that Qt development really can scale across different categories of device. Second, it needs to prove the benefits of that scalability to developers. Third, it needs to persuade developers that Qt is a better cross-platform, cross-device application and UX platform than alternatives such as Adobe Flash/AIR, Microsoft Silverlight and HTML5,” Cripps said.
But given that Qt’s rivals – like Microsoft Foundation Class and wxWidgets – are either already widely deployed or likely to become more so and already have sizable developer communities, MeeGo may have its work cut out for it.
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