First MeeGo Builds Available for Netbooks, Handhelds

With so much focus on a new mobile computing device due out this weekend, you’d think everyone else in this space is standing around, right? Not so, says Nokia (s nok). The first MeeGo code drop just landed and I’m downloading it now for my netbook. There are three builds in the repository, each supporting different hardware platforms:  Intel Atom (s intc) netbooks, the ARM-powered (s arm) Nokia N900 and Intel Atom handhelds on the Moorestown architecture. Once I get my download running from a USB drive, I’ll have a better idea of where MeeGo is headed, although the build is likely to have imperfections. In fact, I’m not sure how much functionality to expect as this is more likely a technical preview of what’s to come.

In case you’re wondering what MeeGo is and how it came to be: it’s a new open-source platform announced last month. And it’s actually a joint effort between two previous platforms: Intel’s Moblin project and Nokia’s Maemo system. Perhaps the biggest benefit to both companies is that MeeGo will support the Qt application development system, which is a cross-platform application environment and UI framework. Developers can take advantage of Qt with a “write once” approach for applications to run on desktops and mobiles.

I see the entire approach similar to that of Apple, which uses the same iPhone OS on three mobile devices: the iPhone, iPod Touch and now the iPad. Nokia and Intel are looking for a mobile platform that appeals to consumers and developers but can run on various hardware. It’s far to early to see how they’re doing, but I’ll be watching their progress for sure. My first look at Moblin on a netbook — see the video here — was impressive for an early build. Maemo offers some positive experiences as well, especially when it comes to browsing and voice communication, so I can’t wait to see the combination of the two.

Image courtesy of Meego

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