This is day two of the MeeGo conference. I've spent the last day and change immersed in the MeeGo OS. One thing has been driven into my head over and over in that time. While MeeGo is officially a collaboration between Nokia and Intel, a merging of Maemo and Moblin, the stakes are not equal for both companies.
Nokia needs MeeGo.
Those words come from Imad Sousou, the father of MeeGo. He made the point earlier that Open Source is no charity for Nokia. Symbian has no long-term future in the smartphone market. This morning I actually talked with a Nokia employee who attended the 2010 Symbian Summit.
"It was kind of sad." is all he would say.
Open Source platforms have the ability to expand very quickly, even exponentially. This is key, because Nokia can't afford to wait long. While they still hold dominion in Europe and over "dumbphones" worldwide, the company has yet to provide a modern smartphone that can succeed in the crucial U.S. market.
Nokia's profits in Q2 were down a staggering 31%. Samsung is going to eat them alive if Nokia can't put a product on shelves that people want. MeeGo is the bright light at the end of an increasingly dark tunnel.
At least, that's what Nokia hopes. But, as Imad pointed out, "Software is the easiest thing in the world to mess up."
All Summit attendees this year are receiving a Lenovo IdeaPad S-10 with MeeGo running on top of it. As neat as that is, it raises a troubling question: Why aren't we getting a Nokia handset? Or even a Nokia tablet or netbook? None of the first MeeGo products have come from Nokia, and there's no clear word on when we'll see one or what it will look like.
I don't want to blow this out of proportion- I fully expect to see a Nokia MeeGo product of some sort at CES 2011. But it's still troubling. Nokia needs MeeGo...but do they have the wherewithal to really support it?