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February 17, 2010

It’s not just about mobiles, anymore

MeeGoGLOBAL – Monday’s unveiling of MeeGo has sparked a world of debate. None more so than the one myself and Mike have been having between ourselves. The ramifications of the move are as widespread as they are exciting. From the evolution of the two platforms involved (Maemo and Moblin) to the places those platforms are going to reach, the future for MeeGo sure looks pretty exciting. And, it’s worth making a disclosure at this point, I don’t know any more about MeeGo than what I’ve read this week, so don’t take this as an insight into what’s actually happening, more my view on where I can see it potentially going.

The evolution of the two platforms makes a lot of sense to me. They both have some fantastic core strengths, none more so than the open-source framework they’re both built on. Combining the best of both can’t be an easy process, for sure, but the results are bound to be stunning. Whether it be the usability, hardware integration or services integration, picking the best of both and putting them together to create something new offers a solid platform for future growth.

And it’s that future growth that intrigues me. When we think about MeeGo, we have to think beyond mobile. Or perhaps redefine “mobile”. The official statement says that the platform is designed to work on a range of hardware architectures and devices including “mobile computers, netbooks, tablets, mediaphones, connected TVs and in-vehicle entertainment”.

Now, imagine if you combine mobile computing with mobile communication and mobile services what you might end up with. Is it conceivable, perhaps, that we can have an application running in our car, which follows us (seamlessly) to our pocket and then into our house? Firstly to the tablet in our kitchen and then, perhaps, to our TV. All the while that app is connected to the internet.

Or we could plot a route at home (on the TV, perhaps?) and then when we get in our car it’s already pre-loaded and ready to go (we’ve already told it what time we need to leave/hit our destination so it knows where we’re going when we switch the car on). With free walk and drive navigation, obviously.

The internet is fast becoming ubiquitous. MeeGo looks likely to help accelerate that.

As Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, quoted on the Wall Street Journal said:

“They are thinking about this as a platform for things people haven’t even dreamed of yet”

Of course, these are just some basic use cases we’ve been thinking up since Monday. I’m sure the engineers and designers behind MeeGo will be planning and plotting far more eloquent stuff than our meanderings. However, when you start to think about this stuff as a whole ecosystem that goes beyond our pockets, Nokia’s services strategy (which is already strong) gets a whole lot stronger.

It’s early days for MeeGo, but perhaps not quite as early as we think. We’re told we can anticipate the first MeeGo devices this year. If it’s that easy, and fast, to get the first ones out, the rest can’t be far behind. Excited? We are.