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Car projects derailed by MeeGo's death

Posted: 27 Oct 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile OS? in-vehicle systems? infotainment? IVI?

In September, Intel Corp. announced that it is dropping its MeeGo operating system (OS).

With Intel turning its back on the mobile OS, three auto electronics design projects were derailed. Visteon Corp. was building a system that could run on MeeGo or Ubuntu versions using ARM or Intel. Two other companies were also working on in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems for car makers based on the OS.

Intel is now working with Samsung on a new mobile Linux variant called Tizen, which is scheduled for release early next year, according to the Tizen site.

"The move from MeeGo to Tizen from a GENIVI perspective is nothing more than a bit of inconvenienceit is not earth shattering," said Kyle Walworth, member and current secretary of the GENIVI board.

The MeeGo projects from at least two GENIVI members "were not nearing completion, but were fairly well along," said Walworth, who is also a senior manager of electronic architectures as Visteon.

Walworth described the Visteon IVI products as flexible, not relying on MeeGo or Tizen. The OS shift "will have very little effect given the [software] packages we will probably use," for the Visteon IVI product, Walworth said.

As part of the rationale for scrapping MeeGo, Intel said Tizen will support HTML5, a high-level environment for portable Web-based applications that is gaining support among carriers.

GENIVI has also approved other open source operating systems from Canonical, Mentor Graphics, Montavista and Wind River. Each is being used for at least one IVI project geared for a car maker participating in GENIVI.

One GENIVI project targets a 2014 car model, while others are aimed at cars shipping in 2015.

Walworth is optimistic that Tizen will support IVI systems, given that it lists them among its target markets on its Web site. However, Tizen has yet to set up an IVI working group, something MeeGo supported.

IVI systems typically include video and audio decode, navigation systems, rear-seat entertainment systems, display interfaces and support interfaces to MP3 players and smartphones. The GENIVI spec focuses on standards for the software portion of the products.

"The beauty of GENIVI is it is geared for more than one option for Linux and for processors," said Walworth. Car makers weren't the only ones affected by the cancellation of MeeGo. Taiwan's Acer had at least one MeeGo project in the works for at least a year with engineers from Intel and contract manufacturer Wistron.

At least three mobile Linux companies from greater China exhibited their software at the Intel Developer Forum in mid-September, just days before Intel pulled the plug on MeeGo.

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