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Intel: No MeeGo Handsets until 2011

Nokia has been saying all year that the first MeeGo phones will go on sale but the end of 2010, but now an Intel executive is throwing a wrench in the works: in an interview with Forbes, Intel VP Dough Fisher says MeeGo-based handsets won’t hit the market until the first half of 2011. Fisher also says Meego-based tablets wwill land in 2011—although there is already one MeeGo-based tablet on the market in Europe: a version of Neofonie’s WeTab.

However, Fisher notes other MeeGo devices are still on track to ship this year: they’re just Internet-connected televisions and netbook devices rather than tablets or handsets.

MeeGo is joint effort between Intel and Nokia, melding the foundations of Intel’s earlier Moblin effort aimed at embedded systems, media gizmos, and mobile devices with the interface and development tools Nokia originally developed for its Maemo platform. MeeGo will be available under open sources licenses, and the platform has hit several important milestones, including a 1.0 release and a recent preview release with integrated touch capabilities aimed at mobile devices. A 1.1 version of the MeeGo platform with enhanced touch capabilities is due this month.

The assertion that most MeeGo-based mobile devices for consumers aren’t due to hit market until the first half of 2011 isn’t surprising to most industry watchers, but it does put the potential MeeGo ecosystem considerably behind the existing iOS and Android platforms. Windows Phone 7 will be launching imminently, and Hewlett-Packard has recently confirmed it is planning future webOS-based phones. Nokia’s chief of MeeGo development also just left the company in a series of executive shakeups that has included Nokia replacing its CEO.