Android may have the phones, but MeeGo may get the cars

PORTLAND, Ore., -- Google's Android is already hot in smartphones, and it's going to be hotter than hot in Linux-powered tablets. So, where does that leave Intel and Nokia's embedded Linux, MeeGo? In the dust? Actually, it looks now like MeeGo is going to have its own niche where it will be the embedded Linux of choice: Car entertainment, Internet, and navigation systems.

Tomorrow, the Linux Foundation will announce that GENIVI, a non-profit auto industry alliance committed to driving the adoption of an open-source IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) reference platform. With members like BMW, GM, Peugeot Citroen, and Renault this is a big deal. These aren't hangers-on in the car business; these are core car companies.

MeeGo will now officially be the next IVI reference release, Apollo. As such MeeGo will supply the Internet-aware multimedia in IVI such as rear-seat entertainment and built-in navigation and entertainment. Yes, you might even be able to Twitter by voice while driving your car if that's what floats your boat.

MeeGo won't be providing just the Linux. MeeGo, as Dirk Hohndel, Intel's Chief Linux and Open Source Technologist said at OSCon, MeeGo provides not just Linux, but the "full client Linux open-source software stack." Android, by the by, uses its own Java-based middleware and interface instead of the more familiar Linux. This means that open-source developers with Linux desktop chops will find it relatively easier to program for tomorrow's 'smart' cars.

As Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation, said in a statement, "MeeGo has been built from the ground up for these types of applications. Because MeeGo is a truly open platform, the work GENIVI will do to extend the platform can benefit the project and all who use it. For developers, this is a great opportunity to harness the power of the MeeGo APIs (application programming interfaces) to target a variety of devices and architectures and extend their work on handset applications toward vehicles."

Interested? You can start working with MeeGo today by downloading the platform. According to Hohndel, new releases of MeeGo will be coming out every six months, with the next edition coming out this fall.

And, presumably by the time the 2013 car models come out in 2012, end users, aka your kids in the back seat, will be able to watch streaming 4G videos on MeeGo-powered IVI entertainment centers.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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