**As published in RCR Wireless News** BARCELONA – Two heavyweights in their own right, Nokia and Intel this morning announced plans to merge their Linux-based software platforms for next-generation devices. MeeGo, which merges Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo platforms, the software is intended to support multiple hardware types across a host of market segments, ranging from mobile computers, netbooks and tablets to next-generation smartphones, connected TVs and in-vehicle systems. The goal is to allow developers to write an application once and have it work immediately on a variety of devices and platforms and then sell through Nokia’s Ovi Store and Intel’s AppUp Center.
The full software stack will be available to developers in the second quarter of this year, Kai Oistamo, EVP of solutions at Nokia, told yet another overflow crowd of media at Nokia’s press event today. Both companies declined to name names yet, but committed to launching on a variety of devices across products from numerous manufacturers in the second half of this year. Through MeeGo, Intel and Nokia are decidedly not going after the PC market, but rather new, different mobile experiences that open up opportunities beyond what can be done on smartphones today, Oistamo said. Ovi’s doorway widens Following the MeeGo announcement, Niklas Savander, EVP of Nokia’s services business, took the stage to give updates on Ovi Maps, Comes With Music, the Ovi Store and more. Having only launched Ovi Maps for mobile 26 days ago, Nokia has already managed 3 million downloads of the free application, averaging 100,000 downloads per day, he said. As for the latest numbers on Nokia’s all-you-can-eat Comes With Music offering, Savander pointed to 11 new markets where the service recently launched in the Middle East and Africa, combining now for a total of 27 countries thus far. Nokia still declined to give the total number of Comes With Music users, perhaps partly due to its confidential agreements with various record labels, but Savander did say the company experienced a 400% jump in activations month-over-month from November to December 2009. “We have quite rapid geographical expansion and thanks to that we also have user and usage growth,” he said. On the Ovi Store, Nokia has now localized its offering in 18 countries with integrated billing across 60 operators. The top five countries of use are India, Indonesia, Italy, Russia and the United Kingdom, Savander said. Overall, the Ovi Store is approaching 15 downloads per second with daily highs of more than 1,000 downloads per minute. Finally, Savander gave the latest numbers of Ovi Mail, which now stretches to 6.5 million users, almost all of whom are using e-mail for the first time, and as such the service is very heavily skewed toward emerging markets.