SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A robust computing environment and ubiquitous connectivity are the two most critical components to every facet of mobility, Doug Fisher, VP at Intel Corp. (INTC), said during his keynote at Sprint’s developer conference. Everything is being driven by “a combination of powerful computing and connectivity,” he said.
While Intel is probably most known as a hardware company, Fisher took lengths to highlight the company’s work in software that comes into play wherever it touches the silicon. “All the capabilities and needs of software are incorporated in the next generation of our hardware platform,” he said. One of Intel’s most aggressive moves in the software space of late is MeeGo and, not surprisingly, Fisher spent the bulk of his keynote on the new operating system built on the Linux framework. MeeGo has four key components in his view: a cross-platform operating environment, a single set of APIs that allows developers to simply modify for different form factors, compatibility across all architecture (not just Intel processors) and a strict adherence to pure openness. “We have one of the best open source competencies that the world has today,” Fisher said. “You can actually influence the direction of this operating environment.” Because the Linux Foundation serves as the steward of MeeGo, it’s managed and run just like Linux, he continued. “We have working groups to help define each vertical segment” and a technical steering group ensures compatibility across the board. “We don’t want this to fragment. That’s the worst thing that can happen,” he said, adding that manufacturers, service providers and the like can differentiate and innovate on top of MeeGo if they’re inclined to do so. “We need you guys to take these platforms … and innovate and deliver the solutions that the market needs,” Fisher noted. Later in a room well beyond capacity, Stanley Mo, director of Atom OS strategy, systems, software and services at Intel, offered some more updates on MeeGo and gave developers a prolonged opportunity to ask questions about its progress. Echoing Fisher’s talk earlier in the day, Mo said MeeGo presents developers with a unique opportunity to innovate and contribute to the development and eventual look, feel and functionality of a new OS from the stack outward. Intel currently has almost 700 engineers working on the project and said the MeeGo 1.1 code for handsets will come out at the end of this month, but the framework for smart phones is still a ways off. Mo didn’t lay out a timeline for the smart phone SDK per se, but MeeGo has said it will be following a delivery cadence schedule around every October and April. One of the biggest questions on developers’ minds though was how MeeGo contrasts to Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android OS. While Mo said the architectural levels for MeeGo and Android are quite similar, they run on a different core and engine. He also described Android as more of a smart phone-based OS whereas MeeGo wants to run on a full array of gadgets and full-scale electronics, but it’s worth noting that Google is doing its part on that front as well. Mo also said that because MeeGo is a full Linux stack, any Linux app will work without issue. But with “top-end OS stack” approach comes size. MeeGo is considerably bigger than Android because it carries more libraries out of the box. “It definitely gives us some challenges with the size of the code,” Mo said, but “we knew the hardware would catch up.” More memory, faster processors and other strides in technology are making it possible for MeeGo’s file size to wreak less havoc on battery life, for example, he noted.