Intel demonstrates first open source MeeGo tablet at CES

MeeGo is off to a quiet start, but hope runs high that it could be a real Andoid challenger by year end.

In a quiet corner of the giant Intel booth at CES there's a not-so-crowded demo stand with the label MeeGo. There you'll find the WeTab tablet, the first MeeGo tab already shipping in Europe. From this underwhelming beginning the Intel/Nokia-sponsored effort, now under the direction of the Linux Foundation, hopes to offer a better open source alternative to Android.

WeTab began shipping in the fall, and MeeGo tablets are expected in the U.S. later this year.

If Android was started to free system makers from the domination of operating system makers Apple and Microsoft, it only partially succeeded. Because now these system makers are stuck waiting for Google to make changes.

MeeGo, in contrast, is an open source Linux derivative that's run by the Linux Foundation and operates the same as Linux. Anyone can download the code, make changes, and then submit them to the Linux Foundation to be included in the next build. Because of this, system makers don't have to wait on a third-party for anything. Downside is MeeGo is yet another development platform vying for application developers ... in this case the platform is QT.

The WeTab product is slick with support for full 1080p HD video, and the touch interface responsive, though it was impossible to really test the thing because the CES Wi-Fi was so overloaded that Internet access was down. Still, from what I could see of it, I was impressed with the UI.

WeTab runs on a 1,66 GHz Intel Atom processor, sports a 11.6“ screens, includes WiFi, Bluetooth and optional 3G support. It's got 2 USB slots as well as a SIM Card Slot, mini HDMI jack and other ways and means to connect it to I/O devices.

WeTab has gotten around the lack-of-applications problem by supporting Flash, Adobe AIR, and Java. Its got its own App Store where it offers apps that come from those platforms, as well as Linux and Android Support for Linux, Java, Adobe AIR , Adobe Flash and Android Apps and it has pre-installed a number of popular tablet apps including an eBook reader, Media gallery (photos and videos), Video player, Music player, Webcam,

Android is everywhere at CES 2011. We'll see if MeeGo can do more than become a niche. But if Google ticks off hardware makers, Intel/Nokia's MeeGo wants to be ready to greet them with open source arms.


Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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