Intel Drops MeeGo In Favour Of Tizen

It is now official:  Intel has announced it is dropping its MeeGo mobile operating system and instead is backing a new mobile Linux operating system dubbed Tizen.

And it won’t be alone. Intel is teaming up with Samsung, as well as the Linux Foundation and Limo Foundation. It is reported that MeeGo and Limo will be merged into the new Tizen platform.

The Tizen project will be hosted by the Linux Foundation, but Intel and Samsung will apparently lead the Tizen technical steering team, according to a blog post on the new Tizen website.

Short-lived OS

The Tizen project is of course open source, and the resulting operating system will be based on Linux. It will be designed to support smartphones, as well as tablets, smart TVs, netbooks, and in-vehicle infotainment devices. The Tizen application programming interfaces will apparently be based on HTML5 and other web standards.

The Linux Foundation plans an initial release of Tizen and its SDK in the first quarter of 2012.

The news that Intel is ditching MeeGo was revealed in a blog posting entitled “What’s Next For MeeGo” on the MeeGo website. The blog was posted by Imad Sousou, director of Intel’s Open Source Technology Centre.

It followed rumours earlier this month that Intel was on the verge of dropping MeeGo.

HTML5  is the future

“By now, you may have read that The Linux Foundation, with the support of several other companies, announced a new project, Tizen, to build a new operating system for devices,” wrote  Intel’s Sousou.

He then explained that HTML5 will play a key role in the new operating system – and that is the main reason why a new operating system is needed, rather than an upgrade to an existing one.

“This new project is first and foremost open source, and based on Linux. So it begs the question: why not just evolve MeeGo? We believe the future belongs to HTML5-based applications, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5,” he wrote.

“But in the new project, a lot of things will be the same as they were in the MeeGo project,” said Sousou. “Over the next couple of months, we will be working very hard to make sure that users of MeeGo can easily transition to Tizen, and I will be working even harder to make sure that developers of MeeGo can also transition to Tizen.”

“I want to personally thank everyone who has participated in MeeGo over the past year and a half, and I encourage you to join us at,” he concluded. “We hope to use what we learned from the MeeGo project to make Tizen successful, and I hope to see you participating in Tizen!”

Crowded Market

Intel has been struggling to find a place for MeeGo, ever since the other major backer Nokia made the decision in February to base its new handsets on Windows Phone 7, which was unfortunate timing as Intel was also showing off a MeeGo tablet at the same time.

MeeGo was launched in February 2010 in an effort to combine Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin, both based on Linux. But Nokia’s decision to opt for Windows Phone 7 left the chip giant with a mobile platform with no hardware outlet.

Indeed, Intel had searched for hardware partners for MeeGo, but no major device vendor committed to it. That said, in April the project did gain backing from Tencent, a major Chinese software and hardware development company.

But whether the world really needs another mobile operating system remains to be seen. Samsung of course already has Android, and its own Bada. Nokia is leaving Symbian behind and adopting Windows Phone 7. And Apple remains firmly tied to the iOS platform.

Meanwhile Intel’s decision will no doubt cause some surprise for owners of the N9 handset, which could soon become something of a collectors item. In June Nokia launched the N9, which it said at the time would be its first – and last – smartphone running MeeGo.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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