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MeeGo OS fading fast? Intel says it's 'still committed'

A report claims Intel is backing off its MeeGo operating system for smartphones and tablets and instead will focus on hardware running Android and Windows.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

An Asia-based report surfaced today that claims Intel will temporarily halt development of its MeeGo operating system for tablets and smartphones due to lack of interest. Intel, however, says it's still committed.

The DigiTimes report claimed that Intel plans to "temporarily discontinue development of its MeeGo OS due to a lack of enthusiasm for the platform from handset and tablet PC vendors."

Instead, Intel will focus on hardware that is paired with either Android or Windows Phone in 2012, according to the report, citing industry sources.

"We remain committed to MeeGo and open source, and will continue to work with the community to help develop and meet the needs of customers and end users," an Intel spokesperson told CNET this evening.

Whatever happens, MeeGo was dealt a major blow in February when Nokia--which had professed commitment to the platform for smartphones--dropped the Intel OS and chose to go with Microsoft Windows Phone 7. (The MeeGo-based Nokia N9 barely made it out the door.)

And that wasn't the first time a major phone maker failed to bring out a product based on Intel's OS. LG never brought out a commercial smartphone based on the Moblin operating system--what later became MeeGo--despite a high-profile announcement by Intel and LG in 2009.

A closer look at Moblin's/MeeGo's history shows that it has primarily served as reference platform not as a commercial platform in the case of consumer devices. A reference platform is a way for potential customers to try out Intel chips with full support from the chipmaker. The problem, so far, is that few device makers have gone beyond the reference platform stage with MeeGo. Though there have been a few scattered attempts to market Netbooks and tablets running MeeGo.

MeeGo hasn't been ignored completely, however. It is also an operating system for the so-called embedded market, such as in-car devices and industrial equipment, where it is doing relatively well, according to Intel. So, MeeGo may be sticking around but don't expect to pick up a consumer device at your local electronics retailer running the software.