Nokia, Intel combine their software for smart phones, tablet computers and other Internet-connected devices in move that aims to make each company ubiquitous in mobile devices as Windows is on PCs
February 15, 2010
– Nokia Corp. and Intel Corp. on Monday said they're combining the software they've each been developing for smart phones, tablet computers and other Internet-connected devices.
The world's largest maker of phones and the world's largest maker of computer chips believe that together they have a better chance of competing in a crowded field of software systems that each hope to be as ubiquitous in mobile devices as Windows is on PCs.
The new software, to be released in the second quarter, will be called MeeGo. It will supersede Nokia's Maemo, used in a few high-end phones, and Intel's Moblin, which it has been developing with an aim to get its own chips into phones and somewhat larger, tablet-like "mobile Internet devices."
The companies announced the combination on the first day of Mobile World Congress, the world's largest cell phone trade show, in Barcelona.
The first phone powered by an Intel chip similar to the ones it makes for PCs was demonstrated in January by LG Electronics Inc. The prototype had a 4.8-inch screen, making it much larger than today's phones.
Alternatives to MeeGo include Google Inc.'s Android software and Symbian, already used by Nokia in many phones. However, Symbian has lagged in supporting new must-have features for smart phones, like touch screens. Nokia started developing Maemo as a substitute for use in high-end phones.
"Symbian is the chosen platform for us for smart phones," said Kai Oistamo, Nokia's executive vice president for devices, in an interview. "MeeGo is about the next wave, where wireless devices will go next."
Both Maemo and Moblin are based on Linux, the free operating system. MeeGo will be administered by the nonprofit Linux Foundation.
Programs written for the chips Nokia uses in its phones won't immediately run on devices using Intel's chips. However, the companies said a software tool called Qt will let developers convert applications between the two chip families.
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