At Nokia World, developers ask: ‘Where’s MeeGo?’

The Guardian’s Charles Arthur goes on a hunt for MeeGo at Nokia World

Powered by article titled “At Nokia World, developers ask: ‘Where’s MeeGo?'” was written by Charles Arthur, for on Tuesday 14th September 2010 11.57 UTC

Where’s MeeGo? That’s the game that Nokia developers are playing here at the ExCel centre in London.

Amidt the turmoil in the executive ranks – with first its chief executive exiting abruptly on Friday, and then its recently-appointed head of mobile resigning on Monday – the question for developers is a much more simple one: what phones is Nokia going to offer, will there be compelling reasons to develop for them, and will people want to buy or use apps on them?

Nokia has been showing off its new N8, C7, C6 (two of them; you tell them apart because one has the -00 an the other has the -01 suffix, obviously) and E7 models. They all run on Symbian^3, the latest version of Symbian.

Speaking to some of the developers on the floor it’s clear that quite a few had been hoping – and expecting – to see something using MeeGo, which is a Linux-based mobile OS that is going to be part of another strand in Nokia’s smartphone attack.

However Nokia clearly decided not to show it off here, despite this being the annual show for developers. Niklas Savander, executive vice-president and general manager of markets – and a member of the Nokia board which ejected Olli-Pekka Kaliasvo last week – told the Guardian: “We will have more to say about MeeGo later this year. We want to focus on these [new phones] and we want to be ready with everything when we do show off MeeGo.”

There’s some murmuring among the developers that MeeGo has run into some end-stage bugs which mean that it can’t be shown off on working phones yet. It’s worth noting that Savander isn’t necessarily saying that Nokia will be showing off phones later this year – only that there will be more to say.

MeeGo is pretty young – it was only formally announced in February, as a joint Intel-Nokia project, combining the old Intel Moblin and Nokia Maemo concepts into one. (Intel was allegedly unhappy that Microsoft wasn’t providing full Windows 7 support for the Atom processor, which Intel was banging out by the ton.)

MeeGo is intended to be a multi-device OS – indicating perhaps that Nokia is looking past just phones. Developers won’t though have to learn an entirely new language to develop for it: the handset interface can be targeted via Qt, the development environment which Nokia owns.

According to Wikipedia, there was a software prerelease of the user interface for handsets on 30 July, while Intel showed off a MeeGo-based tablet in July.

Since then? It’s quiet. Too quiet for the tastes of some developers… but we’ll have to see. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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