Intel is a chip company, but you wouldn’t know it from this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.
Kicking off a packed out press conference on Monday, where journalists clamored for floor space in the corridor, the firm announced that it would be developing a software platform, with Nokia.
Déjà vu? Yes. Last year the two firms teamed up for something called Maemo, which never actually came to fruition, but has now been min- warped into Meego, which blends Intel’s Linux user interface, Moblin, with the vaporous Maemo.
Making sense? No? Don’t beat yourselves up about it, we don’t really get the point either.
Except there is a point. And that point seems to be sticking it to Google and its free, open source Android platform. Oh, and to closed, proprietary Windows Mobile, and to Apple’s iPhone software.
So, Intel and Nokia have decided they want to collectively control the mobile software world, and figure that the way to do this is by providing something that’s already available, but under different packaging. Genius.
“I think it’s important that there are alternatives that are truly open for innovation,” bleated Intel’s Renee James, the firm’s vice president in charge of software.
Are there not enough alternatives out there already, Ms. James?
Not to mention the alternative already presented by Nokia itself, in the form of its rapidly-becoming-a-joke Symbian operating system, alongside which Meego is supposed to just slip right in and not change a thing.
Kai Oistamo, Nokia’s head of devices, assured the audience several times that his firm would continue to sell and develop Symbian, and that Meego would be just another addition to the “rich ecosystem.” Puh-lease.
Also, since when did Intel become so altruistic that it wants to make software which runs on both Atom and ARM chips alike? When did the software battle become more important to Intel than the hardware battle? And did it?
Or is the chip giant simply biding its time before the real Nokia announcement comes into play, and the firms announce a joint SoC? We strongly suspect the answer to the last question is yes. The only question is when that announcement will take place.
Intel and Nokia will both be distributing Meego through their various app outlets, Intel through App-Up and Nokia through its Ovi store, with the promise that the software will not only run on phones, but on netbooks and tablets too.
Nokia says the first phones running Meego will be available in Q2 of 2010. We wonder whether Nokia will have admitted they plan to use Atom in next- gen smartphones by then too.