Earlier this year, LG delayed plans for an Android tablet because the current generation of Android proved unsuited to devices with larger screens. Some reviewers have claimed that Samsung’s Galaxy tablet–running Android 2.2–is less than slick, demonstrating the same problem. Motorola has also said its tablet plans are on hold while it waits on an Android upgrade.
“My view on Intel’s platform is that is has an enormous potential because of their understanding of hardware,” says Guy Ben-Artzi of Particle Code, a startup that offers a tool to convert mobile apps between iPhone, Android, and other operating systems. Intel plans to use MeeGo to propel its Atom range of powerful, energy efficient processors into more devices as growth in PCs slows and phones and tablets take over, Ben-Artzi says.
Intel may still face a big challenge, though.”This is really about content,” says Ben-Artzi, who was previously CEO of Mytopia, a firm that developed social and mobile games, and which was acquired by the game company 888 Holdings in June. He says users need to feel that adopting MeeGo won’t mean missing out on good apps. “If they can’t get exciting apps onto their platform, it is not going to stick.”
A way to easily convert apps developed for, say, Android, to run on MeeGo would help address that problem. Particle already makes it possible to convert apps between other mobile platforms like Android and the iPhone, but Ben-Artzi will only say that his firm has a “good relationship” with Intel and that more will be revealed in the future.
Before MeeGo phones can reach consumers, Intel also needs to court wireless carriers. One way the firm hopes to attract them and manufacturers is by bending to their desires to customize their own versions of the OS, right down to rebranding Intel’s app store, called AppUp.
“We offer a flexible business model,” says Peddibhotla. “Carriers or OEMs can rebrand the storefront or provide exclusive apps or limit the apps in their store.” That seems likely to find favor with carriers, some of which have shown an appetite for rebranding phone software and app stores, with Verizon apparently readying its own app store for Android devices.