SAN JOSE, Calif. – Three car electronics designs were among the projects dented when Intel scrapped in late September support for MeeGo, its mobile Linux variant.
At least two companies were building in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems for car makers based on MeeGo when Intel ended support for the operating system. A third company, Visteon Corp., was building a system that could run on MeeGo or Ubuntu versions of Linux using ARM or Intel processors.
All three projects were based on the middleware specifications defined by GENIVI, a consortium of about 150 companies including about ten participating car makers. The group approved MeeGo as one of six OSes complaint to its specifications for Linux core services and APIs.
Intel is now working with Samsung on a new mobile Linux variant called Tizen to be released early next year, according to the Tizen Web site.
"The move from MeeGo to Tizen from a GENIVI perspective is nothing more than a bit of inconvenience—it's not earth shattering," said Kyle Walworth, current secretary and a member of the GENIVI board since it was formed about two years ago.
The MeeGo projects from at least two GENIVI members "were not nearing completion, but were fairly well along," said Walworth who also is senior manager of electronic architectures at Visteon.
Walworth described the Visteon IVI product 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 and others.
GENIVI also has approved open source OSes 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. The others are aimed at cars shipping in 2015.
Walworth expressed optimism Tizen will support IVI systems, given it lists them among 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, days bef0ore Intel pulled the plug on MeeGo. At least two of them—Red Flag Software Co. Ltd. (Beijing) and LinPlus Technologies Inc. (Taipei)—develop versions of MeeGo for mobile and IVI systems.