MeeGo is dead, Nokia has basically said, and yet the Finnish company seems reluctant to let the “ex-platform” go. Finnish magazine Tietokone claims sources at a retailer and an operator, each working closely with Nokia, have confirmed there is an N9 successor on the roadmap, though exact details as to what the device might be are unknown.
The N9 has been criticized by reviewers – ourselves included – for the paucity of apps available for the MeeGo platform. Now, it seems, Nokia is doing something about that itself: earlier today, the company released a Spotify app for MeeGo that, according to the company, “is developed and maintained by Nokia in cooperation with Spotify.” While it’s not unusual for a firm to feather its nest at launch by paying developers to produce apps to support a new platform – we saw Microsoft do similar at the release of Windows Phone – it seems somewhat strange that the Finnish company might bother for a platform that a) is seen as a dead end, and b) already offers support for the Ovi Music download store.
Alternatively, it’s suggested, Nokia might be looking back to Maemo, the platform that was rolled into MeeGo – along with Moblin – when the company partnered with Intel last year. German site Telekom Presse points to the N9’s actual Maemo roots, and the fact that the smartphone – while branded a MeeGo device – in fact runs a hybrid OS of sorts called Harmattan, developed on Maemo 6. Nokia’s decision to ditch the Maemo name was a marketing one, given the focus and advertising budget (at the time, at least) was to be on MeeGo.
Apps developed in Qt for the N9 would therefore play nicely on Maemo, is one possibility, and Nokia’s sudden urge to bolster the Ovi Store might be a sign that it’s not entirely ready to shift focus. We’ve also heard talk of different color variants of the N9 targeted for limited release early in 2012, along with whispers of that mysterious N9 follow-up still cooking in Nokia’s engineering labs. Of course, there’s also Meltemi to think about, Nokia’s Linux-based platform apparently intended for entry-level devices as a Symbian replacement, and also supporting Qt-coded apps. That’s tipped to be using the Maemo UI but a new kernel, developed by an offshoot of the original Maemo team.
All eyes are expected to be on Windows Phone tomorrow, as Nokia World 2011 kicks off in London – we’ll be there, rest assured, bringing you all the news – and the consensus is that the company needs to present a strong, consistent front if it wants to convince analysts and the market that it stands a chance of competing in the smartphone segment. That might mean any offshoot Linux plans are put on the back burner for a more subdued launch later on, as the Finn’s partnership with Microsoft takes center-stage.
[via My Nokia Blog]