Goodbye MeeGo, Hello Tizen

Paul Lilly

It wasn't all that long ago that MeeGo held a lot of promise, only to end up pushed aside in favor of other mobile platforms. The biggest gut punch came when Nokia ditched Linux to focus on Windows Phone 7. Even still, the OS wasn't quite dead so long as Intel stayed in its corner. Go ahead and call the pall bearers, MeeGo is being put out to pasture while Tizen takes its place.

The LiMo Foundation and The Linux Foundation jointly announced Tizen, a new open source project based on Linux code and intended for a variety of electronic devices, things like smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks, and in-vehicle infotainment systems. Its application programming interfaces are based on HTML5 and other Web standards, and unconstrained cross-platform deployment is the ultimate goal. That could have been achievable with MeeGo, so why pull the plug and build a new OS?

"We believe the future belongs to HTML5-based applications, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5. Shifting to HTML5 doesn't just mean slapping a Web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been," Intel's Imad Sousou explained in a blog post . "Emphasizing HTML5 means that APIs not visible to HTML5 programmers need not be as rigid, and can evolve with platform technology and can vary by market segment. Granted, this is a judgment on our part on which reasonable people could disagree, but that's the conclusion I came to."

At the same time, Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation, noted in another blog post that some code will be carried over to Tizen. Arstechnica brought up the point that this could be mostly a rebranding effort after MeeGo was turned down by Nokia.

In any event, the initial release of Tizen is targed for Q1 2012, with Tizen-enabled devices to follow in mid-2012.

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