MeeGo 'pre-alpha' for smartphones coming next week


Nokia is to roll out a pre-alpha release of its MeeGo operating system for smartphones next week, with a hardware-supported release pencilled in for October.

MeeGo, the mobile platform developed collaboratively with Intel, has already appeared in alpha form for netbooks. Its smartphone equivalent MeeGo v1 for Smartphone has now been cleared for release on 30 June.

While MeeGo-based hardware is still months away, the availability of the software in pre-release form likely to be accompanied by a developer SDK does at least allow a sneak peek of the platform on the likes of Nokia's N900. MeeGo is largely based on the N900's Maemo OS.

"It's what we call Day One for the MeeGo handset release," said Valterri Halla, director of MeeGo software at Nokia. "The productised release of the software is still [set for release in] October of this year, but this is a kind of pre-alpha release."

A combination of two existing platforms Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo MeeGo was first shown at Mobile World Congress in February. Nokia plans to use the Linux-based platform across its future smartphone line up.

There is also talk of MeeGo finding its way onto netbooks, in-car devices and web-connected TVs.

MeeGo's arrival cannot come too soon for Nokia. The vensdor is still comfortably the world's leading mobile phone maker, but that lead is slowly being eaten away by the likes of Apple, HTC and Samsung.

The bedrock of Nokia's market share now comes from sales of entry-level handsets designed for emerging markets, rather than from higher-margin smartphones.