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BARCELONA, Spain – Nokia and Intel today announced the merger of Maemo and Moblin to create MeeGo, a Linux-based software platform designed to work across a range of hardware architectures and devices including mobile computers, netbooks, tablets, mediaphones, connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment systems. The first release of MeeGo is expected in the second quarter of 2010 and the first MeeGo-based devices are expected to be launched later this year.

MeeGo is an open software platform which will be hosted by the Linux Foundation and use the best practices of open source development. It’s expected that MeeGo will be adopted by a range of device manufacturers, network operators, semiconductor companies, software vendors and developers.

Developers will be able to use Qt to develop applications for a variety of devices and platforms, and market them through Nokia’s Ovi Store and Intel’s AppUp Center.

Speaking about the announcement, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO, Nokia said:

“MeeGo will drive an even wider range of Internet computing and communication experiences for consumers, on new types of mobile devices. Through open innovation, MeeGo will create an ecosystem that is second to none, drawing in players from different industries. It will support a range of business models across the value chain, building on the experience and expertise of Nokia, Intel and all those who will join us. Simply put, MeeGo heralds a new era of mobile computing.”

MeeGo is designed from the ground up to be open in every way. Combining the best of both Maemo and Moblin, and their developer communities, the new ecosystem will deliver a range of experiences for users, including internet-based, computing, communications, multitasking and multimedia. Users will be able to easily move their applications from one device to another and use the same applications on a range of different devices.

The merger of the two platforms follows the announcement last June of the companies’ collaboration.

Intel president and CEO, Paul Otellini said

“Our vision for seamlessly communicating between computing devices from the home, auto, office or your pocket is taking a big step forward today with the introduction of MeeGo. This is a foundational step in our evolving relationship with Nokia. The merging of these two important assets into an open source platform is critical toward providing a terrific experience across a variety of devices and gaining cross- industry support.”

OPK describes this as a new era in mobile computing and he’s not wrong. There is a wealth of possibility for developers, manufacturers and most importantly users. Having a unified, single platform that can offer rich experiences in a number of locations (at home, out and about, in the car) will be a big boon for users. And we anticipate the first devices later this year. We’re excited, what do you think?

UPDATE: We’ll have a live Q&A session about MeeGo on Twitter tomorrow at 14.30 CET. Follow #NokiaMWC for details.