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Nokia's virtual abandonment of MeeGo has turned them from a bumbling Finnish dinosaur to arch-villain overnight. At Intel's executive press conference, reps from the company would only say that they were "disappointed" in Nokia. I have it on good authority that the Linux Foundation folks were much less charitable. "Furious" was the word used.
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Over the last three days of the MWC, I've dropped by the MeeGo booth several times to check on their new line-up of devices. I'd say it was disappointing...but it was actually exactly what I expected. Despite all of Intel's bluster, MeeGo still appears to be floundering.
Most of the MeeGo devices at the show were either WeTabs, Lenovo S-10 netbooks, or Acer netbooks. The "new" MeeGo doesn't look much different from the MeeGo I saw in Dublin. Awkward live tiles have been shoved in, but otherwise little has changed. I'm left to wonder why- besides price- anyone would want to purchase a MeeGo netbook.
One bright spot at the booth was Splashtop, a remote desktop service that allows you to control your PC via a mobile device. But Splashtop already exists for plenty of non-MeeGo devices. There's nothing special about their MeeGo app.
And, really, there's nothing special about MeeGo. Yes, it's open source. But what features does it have that make it more desirable than Android or iOS or WP7? The MeeGo fans I talk to all bring up the same laundry list of tired talking points.
MeeGo will avoid fragmentation!
MeeGo is more open than Android!
QT is a great platform for developers!
And all these things may be true. But none of them will move units. MeeGo doesn't offer anything new in terms of function. It feels sparse, and the app situation is still woefully short of where it needs to be. At one point, I asked the Splashtop rep how I could download his app on my MeeGo netbook. His response?
"You can't right now. There's no way to distribute it."
Are there cool MeeGo products? You bet. The Amino connected TV looked great and successfully pulled together a ton of content. The new MeeGo tablet seems like as solid a slate as any. The in-vehicle entertainment systems were perfectly adequate. But nothing stands out, grabs you, about anything there.
Here's what I find weird. Nokia has been hounded for pulling back on MeeGo and reducing their commitment to only a few devices. But Intel is basically doing the same thing. They've made a big deal about their support for MeeGo, but it isn't like the company is stepping away from Android and other platforms.
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Nokia was very visibly committed to MeeGo at the summit last year. They felt it was important, crucial, for the development of the mobile market. And now? Cricket chirps. Something tells me Intel will experience the same reversal by this time next year.