Our Pre-Summit Round-Up
State of the OS:
MeeGo 1.1 was released to developers back at the end of October. It included a set of core apps for netbooks and In-Vehicle infotainment software. It also came with a version of the update designed for the N900 smartphone.
Sprint has announced their plans to support MeeGo and Nokia's first MeeGo device is set to hit in early 2011. It was originally expected to launch before Christmas, but there have been some delays possibly as a result of the VP in charge of MeeGo quitting back in October.
This excellent and exhaustive analysis of MeeGo points out that there is "still a long way to go" before the fledgling OS will become a viable platform. Namely, the MeeGo team needs to focus on fixing basic usability issues in 1.1 and working to make development easier for app-makers.
MeeGo already has the most open development process of any OS out there, including Android. Most of the work is happening in a public git repository, an open development model that may win MeeGo a lot of support from open source advocates who feel jilted by Android.
The first MeeGo smartphones will launch in early 2011. One rumored device is the Nokia N9, a sliding QWERTY smartphone with an aluminum unibody design. The N9 may be the N-Series smartphone that finally switches the line over to MeeGo OS.
Despite the fact that 1.1 had nothing to due with tablets, there has actually been far MORE revealed about the future of MeeGo tablets than smartphones. The Z500 was revealed in the Ovi Store back at the start of this month. It is rumored to be a 7" or 9" ARM-based tablet PC.
And today brings us the first word on a MeeGo tablet from IndaMixx. This device is said to have an Atom N450 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 160 GB HDD, 3 USB ports, VGA-out and a multitouch display. The Indamixx 2 is focused on musicians and actually uses a music-oriented version of MeeGo named Transmission 5.0. Expect it to cost $999 and launch after May 2011.
I've yet to fiddle with a MeeGo device, so I can't offer a personal opinion here. What I can do is present you with the best video demos of the OS. Here it is in pre-alpha version running a tablet:
This video gives you a very close and clear look at the tablet OS in use. It shows off the dynamic interface, as well as MeeGo's simple UI mode. Multitasking is also demoed.
Next up, we've got a netbook demo:
This guy cobbled his own MeeGo netbook together. Despite the very beta nature of his software (and the fact that it was running via USB) boot-up was snappy and the OS was quite smooth. It even includes a MeeGo version of Chrome.
Last, here's the developer pre-release of 1.1 running on a smartphone.
MeeGo faces significant threats from iOS and Android, as well as the difficulty of building consumer interest in yet another mobile OS. Intel has just opened a MeeGo research center, and next week will see the start of the world's first MeeGo Summit.
I will be hopping a flight to Dublin this Saturday and covering the whole event. This is what we know about MeeGo so far. By the end of next week, I hope to have a lot more to write about. Stay tuned.