Intel Pushes Back Release Of WeeGo OS For Nokia Smartphones

Intel on Thursday said Nokia smartphones based on the Linux-based MeeGo OS under joint development by Intel and Nokia won't appear until 2011. Despite the appearance of a delay, Intel says it's still on track with MeeGo.

’We have been hitting our dates,’ Doug Fisher, Vice President of Intel’s Software and Solutions Group and General Manager of Intel’s Systems Software Division, said in an interview with Forbes. ’We are very pleased with MeeGo’s progress so far.’

The announcement follows the resignation Tuesday of Nokia's Vice President of Devices, Ari Jaaksi, who was a proponent of open-source development and Linux-based technology for tablets and, most recently, smartphones.

While it's unclear why Jaaksi is leaving, he is the latest of several executives to depart the Finland-based phone manufacturer in recent weeks. Nokia said Sept. 13 that Anssi Vanjoki, executive vice president of Nokia's mobile solutions business, would leave the company in six months. The week before, Nokia announced the company would replace CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo with Stephen Elop, currently the head of Microsoft Business Division.

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With the extension of the release beyond 2010, as originally planned Nokia fans will have to wait longer for the N9 smartphone, details of which leaked in August.

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Until now, MeeGo's development actually exceeded initial expectations. In May, Intel and Nokia released the 1.0 version of the software for netbooks. The following month, they previewed a version of MeeGo for handsets.

Fisher told Forbes that MeeGo 1.1, due for pre-release later this month, will have call and touchscreen capabilities. He also said MeeGo-based handhelds would be available early in 2011, followed by MeeGo-based tablets later in the year.

However, the WeTab tablet from German company Neofonie will be released with MeeGo 1.1 later this year, Fisher said.

Most of the MeeGo devices shipping in 2010 will be non-touch devices like netbooks and in-car computers, with the exception of the German-made WeTab slate.

On Tuesday, Neofonie's Managing Director Helmut Hoffer resigned after being caught issuing five-star reviews of the WeTab on Amazon under fake names. Hoffer has acknowledged his mistake and said no one else at Neofonie was aware of his actions.