Intel Commemorates Nokia N9 By Killing MeeGo, Launching Tizen

Nokia's ill-fated N9 launched today and may have already made history as the first phone to debut on the same day as its OS is canceled. The N9 will go down as the only MeeGo phone ever created and is the last major Nokia launch before the company transitions to an all windows Phone 7 lineup. It's hard to imagine the N9 will ever go anywhere given that both Nokia and Intel have abandoned its operating system.

As for MeeGo, Intel announced today that it would partner up with Samsung and launch a new project:  Tizen. Imad Sousou discussed the move at Intel's MeeGo blog.
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, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5. Shifting to HTML5 doesn't just mean slapping a web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been. Emphasizing HTML5 means that APIs not visible to HTML5 programmers need not be as rigid, and can evolve with platform technology and can vary by market segment.

Much like MeeGo, the Tizen project will support multiple device categories, including Tablets, Netbooks, Handsets, Smart TV, and In-Vehicle Infotainment systems. Over the next couple of months, we will be working very hard to make sure that users of MeeGo can easily transition to Tizen, and I will be working even harder to make sure that developers of MeeGo can also transition to Tizen.
Judging by the comments on the MeeGo blog, a number of developers are concerned about the future of Qt support. Current scuttlebutt indicates the Qt development framework will be supported, though Intel seems set on pushing apps to use HTML5 for future projects rather than Qt. The new OS targets the same types of devices as MeeGo--the preferred development framework may have changed, but the device types the OS targets hasn't.

From MeeGo to ItWent

Meanwhile, in related news, Samsung has signed a cross-licensing agreement with Microsoft that covers development and marketing of Windows phones as well as a broad patent agreement. This is likely a move by Samsung to protect itself from the Android-related lawsuits currently dogging other manufacturers like HTC.

As for Tizen, it's hard to work up too much enthusiasm for the third iteration of a project that began as Moblin, transitioned to MeeGo, and has just been rescued and retitled for the third time. Samsung's decision to invest in the OS project could be seen as a hedge bet against future legal issues with Android, but no one seems willing to commit to MeeGo as a front-and-center product as opposed to a sidelined developer hobby. In this case, we're dubious that the third time will turn out to be the charm.