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Friday, February 18, 2011

Google Android vs Nokia Intel Meego

Here I would like to present the comparison between the two mobile platforms Android backed by Google and the other is MeeGo which is backed by a Mobile Giant Nokia and chipset manufacturer Intel. I would like to go ahead with the comparison even though Android has already established itself and MeeGo is yet to make a début in the market.

First lets take a look at the architecture of the two mobile platforms.

Meego: MeeGo is based on linux. This is the purest form of linux that one can see in the mobile platforms. Most of the modules are taken directly from linux. For application development it makes use of QT like all other Nokia based platforms. Since it is pure linux the applications running on linux will directly work on MeeGo with minimal changes. The customizations made on Linux for MeeGo are minimal.

MeeGo runs on mobiles, netbooks, tablets , connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment system.

In 2010 February Intel and Nokia merged their open source projects together and formed MeeGo Project. Maemo was an open source project carried out by Nokia and Moblin was an open source project carried out by chip manufacturer Intel. Primary reason for merging Intel’s Moblin and Nokia Maemo is to unify the efforts of both projects and communities and enable a next generation open source platform for smartphones, tablets and other capable devices.

MeeGo Architecture – MeeGo provides a full open source software stack from core operating system up to user interface libraries and tools. Further it offers user experience reference implementations and allows proprietary add-ons to be added by vendors to support hardware, services, or customized user experiences.

Android: Android also has the underlying kernel based on Linux. Android is an open source operating system for smart phones and tablets initially developed by Android. Google took over this company in 2005. Android is developed on Linux kernel. Android has several versions and the latest version as of today is Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). The first android phone was introduced to the market more than 3 years back.

Android has a application market with more than 200,000 applications to run on Android devices. These devices are of different manufacturers like Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG. All the major manufactures have already released a phone on Android with the major exception being Nokia.

Both are based on Linux so there are a lot of similarities between the two. However you can see the difference when it comes to application level. The core powering two is the same Linux kernel. Android has a custom Dalvik virtual machine which supports Java at the application level and has easily pulled all Java developers into android. MeeGo is based on Linux so most of the linux applications would work on it. Also it has QT framework for developers.

Application development platform:

Android has gone with Java as the development platform and has quickly captured all the java developers and turned them into android application developed. This has been clever move by Google. However, initially to attract developers into Android Google had to come up with Android developer challenge.

Java is a good development platform but it does come with it own disadvantages. The biggest impact is that of performance. This is the reason for android to be launched as a platform for smartphones and doesnt suit meidum range phones.

MeeGo has gone with QT as the development platform with the intention that applications written in QT works in all plaforms like Mac, linux, Symbian, MeeGo, windows etc. Whether MeeGo will come up with similar challenge or make applications developed for other platforms directly available remains to be seen.

QT is developed in C++ and comes with better performance and more suited to low-end and medium range phones as well. It doesnt remain a platform for high end smart phones.

Application Distribution: 

MeeGo is yet to come up with the complete details on the application distribution mechanism since its platform is still under development. However, initial feeling is that the distribution will be similar to the current Moblin platform. Not sure about how the MeeGo plans of Nokia surface out.

In Android, the application distribution is very simple. Within two days of application submission you can find the application being listed in the market. There are not many stringent security mechanisms in place unlike that of apple market. If  any of the applications in the android market causes harm to your personal data etc then nobody can be held responsible for it. This has been a big issue that has surfaced recently in the android phones. Now that you can use your mobile as your credit card this is all the more important.

How Open is the platform:

Android is the first open mobile platform to be launched in a big way. However, it is still not completely open, in the sense that if you want an update to your mobile then you need to wait for the update to be made available from the particular OEM from whom you have picked up the phone.

In MeeGo, since this is a completely open platform any mobile image that is openly available with compatible hardware can be easily be installed in your phone. This makes you compeletly independent from the phone maker and the support given by the OEM.

Linux Operating system:

Both Android and MeeGo are linux based. The kernel and drivers, middleware etc are based in Linux. However the virtual machine that Android employs is Dalvik virtual machine to support Java development platform.

MeeGo doesnt require any such virtual machine making the platform much better in terms of performance.

Development Support:

For development in android the application developers can make use of eclipse and it comes with a range of tools that makes the life of developers very easy.

In MeeGo for developing in QT the tools available nowhere comparable to android. Only if the set of tools for developers is improved we can expect apps to developed for it. Plans are there to have many tools released soon.

Related Posts:

First MeeGo Phone

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  1. Helped me, but if I choose meego can get more apps like android

  2. Both Intel App up and Nokia OVI store are supported for MeeGo apps, however the road ahead still is unclear