On MeeGo and OS/2 Warp

A new report claims Intel is poised to “temporarily discontinue” development of its nascent MeeGo operating system due to a lack of enthusiasm from handset and tablet vendors.

According to DigiTimes, Santa Clara will instead focus on refining mobile hardware specs, with its handsets expected to be paired with either Android or Windows Phone 7 in 2012.

Although Intel refused to either confirm or deny the above-mentioned report, it is quite clear that MeeGo’s chances of evolving into a viable mobile operating system are diminishing by the day.

Unceremoniously ditched by Nokia in favor of Windows Phone 7, MeeGo hasn’t yet managed to gain any traction in the real world, with both developers and vendors maintaining a healthy distance from the floundering OS.

This is an unfortunate turn of events to be sure, but not entirely unexpected. 

Yes, the Linux-based MeeGo is undoubtedly a versatile operating system with great potential, but it is simply incapable of competing against Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS – both of which already boast a viable ecosystem and sizable market share.

If there is room for a third player, it will most likely be Microsoft Windows Phone 7 and Nokia, as both companies (especially the latter) are absolutely determined to eke out market share, no matter the cost.

Analyzing Meego’s current dilemma takes me back to another time and place: one where IBM was desperately trying to promote its OS/2 Warp operating system in a world soon to be dominated by Windows 95.

While OS/2 was by far a superior operating system, it just couldn’t compete with Microsoft, as Redmond managed to successfully convince app and game devs to jump on board its next-gen OS.

Running the OS on my 486 DX50, I personally preferred the stability of Warp to the bloat of 95. Yet, all the apps and games were being released for Windows. Eventually, I made the switch to Windows and was glad I did, because man, did Quake OpenGL rock.

If Intel does decide to halt development of MeeGo, well, Santa Clara shouldn’t view its effort as a failure, despite the negative press. It was simply just an initiative that kicked off at the wrong time and place.

Had MeeGo launched well before the meteoric rise of Android (with dev support), the mobile landscape would likely look very different today.