Intel’s Developer Forum is now being held in Beijing and the company is seizing this opportunity to show off its latest attempt at entering the mobile and netbook computing industry in a bigger way — MeeGo. MeeGo is the result of a cross-pollination between Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo 5. If you don’t remember this from this years MWC — both companies abandoned their respective nascent mobile OS projects in favor of this joint venture that they call MeeGo.
MeeGo works on a cross platform QT framework that is commonly used for app development in Linux environments. Intel showed of it’s own iteration of MeeGo and it looked like the UI has remained much the same as it was on Moblin. So this makes us wonder if Nokia will also make their version have the same UI as Maemo and only share the framework that ties the two as one. But in that case, the apps that they share in common might look a bit out of place on one or both.
Intel displayed multiple deployments of the MeeGo 1.0 – TV, netbook, mobile phone and kiosk. The demoes reportedly displayed the ability to sync up with each other and pull media files and play them back from the point where they were left off on the other device.
Embedded above is the video of MeeGo running on a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom netbook. The UI uses tabs to separate major zones like real time social networking updates, applications, contacts, etc. The switching looks fast enough for a 1.6 GHz netbook but it remains to be seen how well it performs on less powerful devices under real life conditions.
MeeGo will be tied to both Nokia’s Ovi Store and Intel’s AppUp store based on what kind of a device it is running on. Consumers can get their hands on MeeGo phones later this year with the latest N900 and LG GW990 running on it.
At the last IDF, Intel made quite a few important announcements and one of them was the up coming app store for the Atom/Moblin platform with the Atom developer initiative. Well, months have passed and that store has been shaping up gradually but so far it has been restricted to only the US and Canada. That will now change, finally, come the end of this month.
On the 31st of March, Intel will make their app store, named AppUp, available in 27 countries. All of these countries will have app prices displayed in their local currencies. But everything will still be in English. Intel is working on translations and localized language options will be made available after this lanch.
This app store will support Mobile 2.1 applications, which will add to the existing support for the Windows-based netbooks. According to Intel, the AppUp store will (hopefully) come pre-installed on netbooks from various companies — including Acer, Asus, Dell, Samsung and the others. But this will only happen when the AppUp center finally graduates from beta and enters the world of mainstream solutions. Working on such a broad scale makes it hard to accomplish such goals. So it might be a while before they accomplish that.
Once it is out of beta, the AppUp center will carry all the different kinds of apps that are popular in the market. They will include games, social media apps, social networking apps and hopefully much more. Educational apps are also likely to feature prominently because of the relatively low cost of Atom devices.
This venture is Intel’s attempt to ensure a secure hold on the market as well as increase revenue from the Atom line. Intel currently not selling as many mainstream chips as it would like and it seems Atom as the future with all the focus now being shifted to portable, handheld devices.
The netbook OS that seeks to take on the Google Chrome OS — JoliCloud — has finally launched its last version before going into Beta. This pre-Beta release improves on quite a few phases over the alpha version. Early adopters and testers have commented that this version corrects a lot of minor UI errors that were making life hard for users.
The new version also adds support for Intel GMA 500 graphics, which is definitely a good thing. There is now an express installer that makes it easy to install the OS from Windwos, a la Ubuntu. The OS now boots faster than before (actual time varies from machine to machine) and it also plays better with videos. If you happen to have GMA 500 on your system, it will let you play 720p out of the box.
App installation has also been tweaked out a bit in order to makes things easier for the times when you want to install apps. The whole OS works through the cloud and hence the interaction and the integration with the cloud is really important. The pre-beat also upgrades the Linux kernel to the latest version, ensuring that the system is as up to date as possible. And finally, if you do not like Jolicloud you can uninstall it as easily as installing — all with a click.
[Video By Netbooked.com]
So can you use Jolicloud right now as your primary OS? Unfortunately, the pre-beta tag itself should’ve been enough to tell you that you cannot and you should not. The thing is not rough around edges, it lacks those edges right now. Only the barebones and some muscle is in. The final skin needs more time. But the way this is shaping up is really full of potential. If Google does take over the world, this may be one of the alternatives that save our (digital) lives.
Jolicloud is a special Linux lightweight OS that is meant to run on netbooks. It shares some common aspects of a netbook OS – bare essentials, Internet focused, etc. It aims to be extremely well integrated with online social networks and other online services so that user can have a great experience out of the box.
In fact most netbooks OS’ try to ensure that nothing is missing from the OS that may be required for regular use by the average user. But that also means a lot of development legwork and that requires a strong team and vision.
Google’s Chrome OS team might have a stellar team of engineers and they may have all the press but the Jolicloud OS’ small team of developers have decided that they are not going to be another also ran netbook OS.
The developers have been working hard recently and they now have a video to show for it. As with any netbook OS, boot time is extremely crucial to Joilcloud’s success and they have made significant progress on that count.
The video was shared by the developers through twitter and it shows Jolicloud going from power on to login in 13 seconds flat on an Asus Eee PC 901. This is considerably better than what Chrome OS has been doing. But it is likely that Chrome OS will beat this easily enough.
Remember that Chrome OS is getting rid of almost everything and it will run on hardware decided by Google. So extremely tight integration will allow it to do without a lot of things that usual OS’ need to go through.
However, Jolicloud has been shaping up quite nicely and the OS can become quite a with the mainstream.