Nokia’s MeeGo-based N9, which goes on sale in some parts of the world these days, might very well be the only MeeGo smartphone to hit the market, as that mobile OS is giving way to an entirely new platform called Tizen.
Tizen is an open source effort led by Samsung and Intel, hosted by the Linux Foundation, that will support multiple device categories: smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks, and in-vehicle infotainment devices. It will be based on HTML5 and other upcoming web standards, which is one of the main reasons why MeeGo had to be replaced.
“This new project is first and foremost open source, and based on Linux. So it begs the question: why not just evolve MeeGo? We believe the future belongs to HTML5-based applications (…) Shifting to HTML5 doesn’t just mean slapping a web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been”, explains director of Intel Open Source Technology Center Imad Sousou.
Sousou promises to help users and developers transition from MeeGo to Tizen as easily as possible, but the somewhat unexpected switch will surely leave a sore taste in developers’ mouths.
MeeGo‘s history was uncertain and rocky from the get go. It was created by merging Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin operating systems, but soon after its inception Nokia all but gave up on the new OS, fully embracing Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system.
Nokia N9, which recently began shipping in several European countries (but not Germany, UK and the US) is thus destined to become a proof-of-concept, a one-time affair which perhaps shows promise, but will never be followed up by new, more advanced MeeGo models. It’s no secret that Nokia’s smartphone strategy in the last couple of years was bad, but simultaneously pushing two smartphone platforms – Symbian and MeeGo – and then giving up on both shows just how wrong Nokia’s calculations were.
As for Tizen, the first release of the OS and its SDK is expected in the first 2012, and we can expect additional details about the platform, such as code and developer documentation, in the coming weeks.