It’s hard to believe that MeeGo is little more than eighteen months old. It was first announced at Mobile World Congress early last year as a joint venture to merge Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo platforms.
Plans for MeeGo were ambitious but not entirely unrealistic. It was hoped it would extend to a wide range of devices – from mobile phones and tablets to televisions and computers, and even embedded scenarios such as in-car computing and point-of-sale terminals – with different user interface layers applied to suit specific usage requirements. By the end of 2010, AMD had also jumped on board, and a growing number of companies were making interested noises about MeeGo’s prospects.
But since those optimistic days, the platform has struggled to gain traction, hindered further by Nokia’s decision earlier this year to abandon almost all of its involvement with MeeGo in favour of selecting Windows Phone as its preferred smartphone operating system.
Recent reports via Digitimes, citing unnamed industry sources, now suggest that Intel too may be getting cold feet over its involvement with MeeGo. These sources claim that Intel may need to respond to the general lack of developer and manufacturer interest in MeeGo, and is considering at least a temporary suspension of its development efforts for the platform.
The same sources indicated that Intel is keen to adjust its focus back to hardware, as part of a push to embed its components within Android and Windows Phone handsets in the coming year. The availability of Windows 8 on ARM-based processors in 2012 will give Intel further cause to consolidate its efforts around its profitable hardware products, rather than further trying to push a software solution that the market appears to have little interest in.
Intel has stated that it remains committed to working with the open source community to develop MeeGo, though exactly how far that commitment extends remains uncertain. Given the platform’s failure to make any real impact so far, it’s easy to understand why Intel might want to follow Nokia’s footsteps and back away from MeeGo in order to focus on projects with more appealing long-term prospects.