Operating systems like Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7.5 have taken center stage beating lesser known operating systems to the ground. While Android and iOS are fighting neck and neck for the top spot, Windows Phone is marginally behind in terms of numbers. So where does it leave the rest of the mobile operating systems like MeeGo, Symbian, webOS etc?
We recently saw the unfortunate demise of the webOS platform with the failure of the HP TouchPad. And while Symbian is still managing to do quite okay in developing nations, it doesn’t have anything to brag about either. Then there is MeeGo, which is a simple and admired mobile operating system that hasn’t quite managed to do well in the market. There are plenty of reasons for that. Nokia never took MeeGo too seriously. The last known MeeGo smartphone the N9, it seems, was never really intended to sell well. This partially explains the company’s decision to not make it available in prime markets. This more or less left the platform dying. And yesterday, the demise of the MeeGo platform was official as its head Sotiris Makrygiannis, accompanied by the entire MeeGo team decided to part ways with Nokia. The team was closely involved in the launch of handsets like the N770, N800, N810, N900, N950 (developer only device) and the N9.
The Lumia 800 which followed the N9 with its design and construction, managed to do exceedingly well all over the globe, thanks to the extensive marketing and media hype. Sadly, the N9 didn’t receive the same love from the company. Fans/users are currently voicing their opinions about the team’s exit on the Maemo forums. The announcement came shortly after they announced the MeeGo PR1.3 update for the Nokia N9. Considering Nokia’s resources and man power, one would have initially thought that the platform had the miles to go a long way.
A new under development OS called Tizen which is jointly developed by Samsung and Intel borrows some modules from MeeGo. The OS however is a shift from MeeGo and not merely an evolution. It is believed that this new project could see the light of the day soon, and as it is open source (like MeeGo), the possibilities are endless. The project was announced last year by the Linux Foundation to much criticism as developers didn’t quite approve of the MeeGo platform being ditched.
It is believed that the arrival of Stephen Elop at Nokia is what dampened these developmental projects. MeeGo originally evolved from the Maemo OS, and the developers were hard at work day and night. But to see Elop arrive at Nokia and literally stop all the developmental work was rather disheartening, though not completely unexpected given Elop’s ties with Microsoft (which is believed to have influenced the WP7 agreement). There is some hope with the Tizen OS as both Intel and Samsung are believed to be developing the OS in close quarters. It’s hard to speculate as to when we’ll get to see a Tizen smartphone in action, but it could take longer than expected. It was announced in January that Samsung was merging Tizen with its Bada operating system.