After months of rumors and speculation, Intel has confirmed plans to officially end support and development of the MeeGo operating system project. In a blog post on the official MeeGo community forums, the decision to transition to Tizen was driven by the emergence of HTML5 as a viable development platform for applications.
This follows the official launch of the first and only commercially available MeeGo-based device in the Nokia N9 on Monday, which launched in select markets outside of the US, though the seeds of Intel’s increasing disconnect from the platform were emerging mere months after Nokia announced its plans to abandon Symbian and MeeGo in favor of Windows Phone 7 this past February when Nokia announced its partnership with Microsoft.
The move away from MeeGo accelerated within the past few months when Intel made further non-committal statements regarding the future of MeeGo as a platform, with developers growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress. Now, Intel plans to transition away from the conventional application driven model of MeeGo towards one driven by web applications in Tizen, which is being backed by Samsung and the LiMo Â Foundation as a new general purpose platform with deep support for HTML5.
Tizen is being pitched to former MeeGo and new developers as a nearly identical experience to MeeGo with subtle differences, but what remains to be seen is whether the developers that dedicated countless hours to and contributed toward its eventual commercial release in the N9 will be willing to move to Tizen and just how similar the new platform is after all.
As for device profile support, Tizen is also being billed as a multi-platform operating system, supporting the same profile types as MeeGo in smartphones, tablets, netbooks and in-vehicle infotainment systems in the vein of Ford Sync and BMW i-Drive, which could lead the more cynical observers to believe that Tizen is merely a rebrand of MeeGo and that both Samsung and LiMo would only join Intel on the basis that the project would be a new ground up platform. Wherever the truth lies, Tizen will have to compete with the more entrenched mobile operating systems and deal with developer trepidation in the wake of MeeGo, with the N9 serving as the commercial example of an ultimately failed partnership between Nokia and Intel.
The first major release including tools such as a native SDK set for release in the first quarter of 2012, while more specific information is expected in the next few weeks.