Nokia Bets on MeeGo for N-Series Smartphones

Nokia is still the largest manufacturer of mobile handsets in the world—by quite a substantial margin—but the company has had trouble launching smartphone devices that successfully compete with BlackBerries, Android devices, and (of course) the Apple iPhone. Now Nokia is apparently ready to put some eggs in its smartphone basket: the company has confirmed the the Nokia N8 will be the last N-series device to run the Symbian operating system, and future N-series phones will be running MeeGo, the open source mobile operating system the company is creating in partnership with Intel.

The news was first broken by a Nokia Austaralia representative, then confirmed to Reuters by Nokia spokesperson Doug Dawson.

Nokia plans to continue using Symbian as a mobile operating system in other handheld device lines.

MeeGo is actually Nokia’s second effort to get into an open source mobile operating system: the company bought out Symbian back in 2008 and open sourced the operating system earlier this year, hoping to generate an ecosystem of third party developers for and device partners for the platform. However, other phone manufacturers have showed comparatively little interesting in building devices based on Symbian.

MeeGo is, very basically, a combination in Intel’s Linux-based mobile operating system with Nokia’s Maemo interface and development tools; the OS targets a wide variety of mobile platforms, from phones to tablets to netbooks. Last month, the MeeGo project released version 1.0 of its core platform for developers, long with its netbook-based user interface. The MeeGo handset UI is set to debut this month.