Business Technology

Saturday 18 January 2020

Mobile World Congress: Nokia and Intel merge to launch MeeGo Apps platform

Claudine Beaumont

Nokia and Intel are joining forces to produce smartphone software that they hope will challenge the dominance of Apple and Google.

The new platform, MeeGo, is born from the embers of Maemo, the Linux-based platform used by Nokia's flagship N900 device, and Intel's Moblin operating system, designed for use on internet-enabled devices.

Nokia said that the new operating system would co-exist alongside its other preferred platform, Symbian, and would open up dozens of new devices to application developers.

"Across a range of devices, we're looking to build a single Linux platform with a single developer environment and a merged application programming interface," said Renee James, a senior vice-president at Intel.

"Today's phone users are demanding more powerful and feature-rich devices to take with them on the go," said a spokesman for the platform.

"Next-generation smartphones allow users to enjoy a rich and dynamic internet experience, watch high-definition movies and multi-task like never before.

"The MeeGo-based platform is specifically designed to enable the application and services ecosystem for these mobile, rich internet and media-centric devices."

MeeGo, which will be hosted by the Linux foundation, will make is easier for developers to build a single application that can be ported to a variety of devices, such as netbooks, televisions, and even in-car entertainment.

Intel will hope that the partnership deal boosts its chances of getting its chips inside Nokia handsets.

Despite growing competition from rivals such as Apple and Google, which makes the Android operating system, Nokia still accounts for 40pc of the global mobile phone market.

The first multi-touch enabled MeeGo device is expected to go on sale later this year.

"This deal makes perfect sense and gives Nokia and Intel a better weapon to fight Android with a platform that goes across devices, making it more attractive to developers," said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner.

Nokia also announced that more than three million people had downloaded Ovi Maps, the mapping software that transforms Nokia devices in to sat-navs.

The company also underlined its commitment to rolling out geo-specific platforms and services in emerging economies.

"Our goal is to delight hundreds of millions of consumers around the world, and we're well on our way," said Niklas Savander, a senior Nokia executive. "Our global footprint means we have scaled fast, reaching a really significant number of people using a variety of different phones."

Some analysts, however, were sceptical: "MeeGo's chance of success in the market is very slim," said Michael Gartenberg. "Nokia's platform strategy is looking more muddled than ever."

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