The executive director of the Linux Foundation has outlined the financial and development virtues of the MeeGo mobile platform.
Jim Zemlin told developers at the MeeGo Conference in San Francisco that the mobile version of Linux could enjoy the same type of success claimed by its 20 year-old enterprise server counterpart.
Zemlin said that, while Linux has succeeded in large part due to the flexibility and low cost of open source platforms, MeeGo can similarly offer developers and platform builders a low-cost way to enter the smartphone market.
The platform could be especially important given the current nature of the handset and service provider markets, according to Zemlin.
"You really can't tell which device is which until you turn the power on," he said. "It is really software where most of the value is being created in the mobile industry today, and that is really where most of the cost is."
Using the MeeGo platform as a base allows developers of all sizes to cut the time needed to develop the back end of their platforms, and instead focus on adding services and features, Zemlin explained.
Such reductions in the development cycle are needed for platform developers looking to keep pace with the big names in the mobile handset and tablet markets.
"Unless your name is Apple, Microsoft or RIM, the only way you are going to bring these products to the market is to use Linux," he said.
Danielle Levitas, vice president of consumer, broadband and digital marketplaces at analyst firm IDC, suggested that the MeeGo platform could be especially useful for developers looking to enter more specialised fields.
MeeGo is designed to scale from small touch-screens to larger-scale devices, and can prove invaluable as a basis for specialised devices, Levitas explained.
"Who can really get to market except for a couple of big companies that own the stack?" she said. "A lot of that innovation needs to happen in the open source community."
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