MeeGo sees interest from others after Nokia shift

TAMPERE, Finland Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:12pm BST

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TAMPERE, Finland (Reuters) - Technology firms such as LG Electronics are moving toward adopting the Linux-based MeeGo operating system after Nokia abandoned it, one of the project's leaders said.

Open-source MeeGo was created last year by the merger of Nokia and Intel's Linux-based platforms, but Nokia pulled back from the project in February when the Finnish firm said it would focus on Microsoft software instead.

"It's opening opportunities for the others to come in. Discussions are taking place. You'll see things coming out this year, pretty soon," Valtteri Halla, a member of the technical steering group of MeeGo, told a developer conference on Friday.

Halla, who worked for years on Nokia's Linux software and swapped to Intel following Nokia's announcement, said Nokia's dominant role in the project had held back other phone makers from adopting the technology.

This week LG Electronics joined a working group to develop a handset version of the software, joining companies like ZTE and China Mobile, Halla said.

A spokesman for LG said the South Korean company, third largest phone maker globally, was collaborating with MeeGo in various working groups

"At this point in time LG has no definitive plans to mass produce devices with MeeGo other than car infotainment systems," the spokesman said.

MeeGo is a newcomer to an already crowded market for mobile operating systems, led by Google's Android.

"Nokia's change of strategy helps MeeGo's prospects, but greater traction is likely to come from tablets, netbooks and embedded devices rather than smartphones," said analyst Geoff Blaber from CCS Insight.

Tablets using MeeGo are already available, but the first smartphone running on the software is yet to go on sale.

"MeeGo has to develop a fantastic platform, a serious alternative to Microsoft and Google, before it can succeed," said John Strand, head of Danish consultancy Strand Consult.

"The big question is whether there is space for a third player in that market," he said.

Nokia has promised to roll out later this year its first and last device running the MeeGo operating system, before changing direction.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki, Editing by Mark Potter and Will Waterman)

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