New material from the cycle about the history of mobile operating systems, which made a lot of noise, but never became popular. There is already a parsing of Ubuntu Touch, Sailfish OS, Firefox OS, webOS and LiMo. The turn came to the MeeGo system, known for the legendary Nokia N9 smartphone.
In 2010, at the MWC in Barcelona, Nokia and Intel announced the launch of a new project —MeeGo. It is a versatile open source operating system based on Linux that can be installed on smartphones, tablets, laptops, TVs and many other devices. “MeeGo will be the new era of mobile computing,” said Nokia CEO Olli-Peka Kallasvuo.
The MeeGo project was not created from scratch. It used the developments of Maemo – Nokia's operating system, which appeared back in 2005. The most famous smartphone on Maemo is the Nokia N900 with a sliding physical keyboard. Despite the model's financial failure, the phone still has fans. Only Maemo itself is rarely used by anyone, usually it is upgraded to an alternative Linux – PostmarketOS system.
MeeGo official website in 2010
Back in MeeGo, we used components from Moblin, a distribution kit Linux from Intel for computers on Atom processors. The MeeGo project also received support from the non-profit The Linux Foundation.
In March 2010, the first public build of MeeGo 1.0 for developers appeared. It could run on netbooks with Intel Atom, Nokia N900 and smartphones on the mobile platform Intel Atom Moorestown. This was an early alpha for getting to know the system. It was difficult to use this on an ongoing basis, although the MeeGo interface for laptops was no different from the old Moblin system from Intel. Even the first MeeGo 1.1 update, which was released in June, can hardly be called a working product. For example, for some reason the mouse cursor was displayed on the smartphone screen in the system.
Just watch the video:
Surprisingly, the tablet version of MeeGo looked much better – smoother animations, a refined interface, more work apps and features. Already, for example, multitouch and the normal multitasking window worked.
Already in the fall, the MeeGo project began to experience difficulties. First, Ollie-Peka Kallasvuo stepped down as CEO of Nokia and was replaced by Stephen Elop of Microsoft. Ari Jaaxi, vice president of Nokia and head of MeeGo Devices, resigned a little later “for personal reasons”. Whether these events are connected or not – no one will know.
Around the same time Microsoft introduced the first version Windows Phone. Sales of smartphones with this system began in October.
Interestingly, AMD joined the MeeGo project in November 2010. The company had its own interests – to get more software with support for the new Fusion processors. And for this she was ready to participate in the project Intel, her main competitor.
In February 2011, Nokia under the leadership of Stephen Elop entered into a long-term agreement with Microsoft – the companies teamed up to promote the new mobile system Windows Phone.
As part of the agreement, Nokia has chosen the development environment for Windows Phone as the main one. This move meant the phasing out of the Qt environment, which is used for Symbian and MeeGo. In fact, the company put an end to past systems, although it has not publicly admitted it.
Nokia could not completely abandon MeeGo and sever relations with Intel due to the general agreement. And even Stephen Elop himself convinced everyone that the company would continue to work on the project. “We don't see MeeGo as a plan B. We think of MeeGo and its associated work as a new generation,” Stephen said in an interview with Engadget.
Stephen Elop / Wikimedia Commons
Intel and The Linux Foundation understood where the agreement between Nokia and Microsoft was leading. Despite the loss of the main partner, Intel decided to continue developing MeeGo. 'Intel is disappointed with Nokia, but life goes on,' Vice President Intel Renee James said at a public press conference.
A special shade of Stephen Elop's statement is given by the fact that a few days before the agreement between Nokia and Microsoft news appeared – the company canceled the presentation of the first smartphone on MeeGo. There have even been photos of this Nokia N9 smartphone with a sliding physical keyboard on the Internet. So the future of the platform looked very dubious.
In February, however, the first MeeGo-powered notebook appeared — the Fujitsu LifeBook MH330. It was a regular cheap netbook with a 10 “screen, an Atom processor and 1GB of RAM. Fujitsu did not even create a new model for this, but simply took a ready-made Windows laptop and installed MeeGo on it.
Fewer than 20 laptops and tablets are still available on MeeGo – a full list can be found on Wikipedia. There is nothing interesting among them, these are ordinary budget computers with the simplest characteristics.
Despite the partnership with Microsoft, Nokia promised to release the first smartphone on MeeGo. And the company has fulfilled its promise – in June it announced Nokia N9.
There have already been many articles and reviews about Nokia N9, so it makes no sense to focus on its characteristics. It is important that the smartphone was unsuccessful in terms of marketing. And in fact, it became the first and last smartphone on MeeGo. At the same time, according to reviews, the N9 was a good smartphone with a user-friendly interface, which still has fans.
But all the advantages of the Nokia N9 were covered by the fact that the smartphone was stillborn. It did not have a full-fledged advertising campaign, it failed to attract developers, and Nokia itself actually refused to support the smartphone and the system. So Nokia N9 has become a great toy for geeks, but not a mainstream product.
Read the review of the Nokia 9 smartphone itself and a separate analysis of the MeeGo system from Eldar Murtazin.
It looks like to finally finish off people's faith in MeeGo, Stephen Elop said in an interview with a Finnish newspaper that the company will not promote the operating system even if the Nokia N9 sells well.
Nokia N950, still from video on YouTube channel Revaz Rezo
After this announcement, a very strange step was the announcement of Nokia N950 – this is another MeeGo smartphone with a slide-out keyboard, which never appeared on sale. The company released a limited batch of 5 thousand pieces and distributed it to developers so that they would release software for the platform.
Despite the announcement Intel, nobody was involved in the development of MeeGo. Already in September 2011 the company announced a new project with Samsung – Tizen, also based on open source code. This system was a continuation of the ideas of MeeGo and LiMo, but in fact they are different platforms.
So Intel and Nokia were able to launch a new operating system in just a year and a half and shut it down immediately.
A year after this event, a group of developers from the MeeGo department submitted Sailfish OS, which continued the project idea. As we know, this history of the system ended no better.
Union of Nokia and Intel looked like a logical step for companies. It was fashionable to participate in open source projects, and Symbian was lagging back then. At the same time, the alternative system Maemo over the years of development has failed to attract the attention of the mass consumer. The motivation Intel is even simpler – the company was missing out on the huge and fast-growing market for smartphones and tablets that mostly run on the ARM architecture. At the same time, there was at least some use of the Moblin system.
At the same time, there was not a single prerequisite for the success of this project, because initially Nokia and Intel were in the position of catching up. And with each step of the companies this could be convinced even more strongly. And I had to compete with Google and Apple, which had much more money and opportunities to promote their products.
Before parsing Tizen, it remains to consider another system that has become a part of this project – Bada from Samsung.