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MeeGo Smart TV group launched

Mar 23, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

The Linux Foundation launched a MeeGo Smart TV Working Group with partners including Intel, MIPS, Sigma Designs, Nokia, Amino, MIPS, and Nokia. Meanwhile, Amino, the maker of the first MeeGo IPTV set-top box, has published a white paper on MeeGo IPTV security, and Linpus says it developed a MeeGo stack for the new Fujitsu LifeBook MH330 netbook.

The Smart TV Working Group is designed to "help drive the evolution of MeeGo within the television ecosystem and provide an open framework for industry creativity and innovation," says the Linux Foundation, which oversees the open source Linux MeeGo project. The group will define software components and a compliance program, as well as help develop an "ecosystem of developers and content providers with leading capabilities and tools," says the non-profit foundation.

Initial members are said to include Amino Communications, Intel, JetHead Development, Locatel, MIPS Technologies, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Sigma Designs, Telecom Italia, Videon Central, and Ysten, among others.

When MeeGo was announced just over a year ago as an Intel- and Nokia-backed merger between the Linux-based Moblin and Maemo projects, it was said that a "connected TV" user experience (UX) would be developed. Since then there have been UXes released for netbooks, handsets, and In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems, and a tablet UX should be arriving soon. Now, with the formation of the MeeGo Smart TV Working Group, it appears that an IPTV UX is finally on the way.

Amino's MeeGo-based Freedom

Despite the lack of a formal UX, set-top box (STB) giant Amino plowed ahead with the first MeeGo-based STB, the now-shipping Freedom IPTV box announced in September. The company has joined the new working group and has also published a white paper on IPTV security (see farther below).

The first MeeGo Smart TV Working Group meeting will be held in April, so we may hear more about the project at the May 23-25 MeeGo Conference in San Francisco. Code will be released in the first and third quarters, suggesting that the first unveiling of the spec is due in Q1 2012.

The group will start by defining software components for platform standardization, says the Linux Foundation. It will then provide developers with tools for competitive differentiation, starting with Nokia's Qt cross-platform development framework, which underlies MeeGo.

Extending MeeGo to MIPS?

With an IPTV play, Intel and its MeeGo partners may hope to take advantage of the vacuum left by the slow start of the Android-based Google TV as an open source IPTV platform. Here, Intel is playing both sides, as the Google TV boxes are, like Amino's Freedom, based on its STB-focused Intel Atom CE4100 processor. 

So far, all the MeeGo UXes except for the now-fading ARM-focused handset UX (see below) are based on Intel Atom processors. Indeed, even before Nokia backed off from the project, Intel was the leading MeeGo cheerleader.

Yet, somewhat surprisingly, the IPTV working group also includes core processor developer MIPS Technologies, as well as Sigma Designs, one of the chief MIPS-based system-on-chip (SoC) designers for the STB market. MIPS and ARM are the major architectures used in STB and IPTV products, while the Atom is only just getting started.

MIPS, Sigma, and others have been pushing their own Android-on-MIPS IPTV so-lutions over the last year, but apparently want to branch out to MeeGo as well.

Notably, the Linux Foundation press release left the handset UX off its list of supported device types, although the UX is still available, and has been ported unofficially in pre-release form to the Nokia N900 phone. While Nokia says it will still offer a MeeGo device this year, it has shifted its focus to Microsoft's Windows Phone, throwing the MeeGo community into confusion, not to mention a fair amount of despair.

Handsets are definitely on the MeeGo backburner, a trend reinforced by this week's departure of Intel senior vice president Anand Chandrasekher, the main force behind Intel Atom- and MeeGo-based phones. 

Intel has responded by saying MeeGo will move forward, but primarily in tablets and a few other areas. The auto industry by way of the Genivi Alliance has shown considerable interest in MeeGo's IVI platform, for example.

Stated Art Swift, vice president of marketing and business development, MIPS Technologies, "As the leading provider of processor IP for the digital home, MIPS Technologies is looking forward to contributing to the MeeGo Smart TV Working Group to provide our customers with an appealing option for development of connected consumer entertainment products."

Amino posts white paper on MeeGo IPTV security

Amino Communications has published a white paper describing new security technology it has developed on MeeGo for delivering pay-TV class content on a smart TV platform.

The STB manufacturer says it has used MeeGo to support the world's first hybrid "Over-The-Top" (OTT) service deployment by a tier one operator, offering a security framework to protect content from piracy and malicious attack. Roughly speaking, OTT refers to a device that is free to draw content from any source, including the Internet.

Rather than integrating complex IPTV security measures on top of MeeGo, Amino has adapted MeeGo's own built-in security from the handset UX. As a result, the security framework was developed without the additional costs associated with traditional content security measures, says the company.

When applied to an IPTV online app store scenario, integrating apps with the security framework, the platform does not require recertification for each app, claims Amino.

The white paper, entitled "MeeGo Security Concepts," (see link at end), presents Amino's methodology for isolating an application inside MeeGo without requiring full virtualization or sandboxing, says the company.

Stated Amino's head of Strategy and Business Development, OTT, Kevin Lingley, "People want to create app stores as a way of improving the 'stickiness' of TV-based services. We have designed a security framework within MeeGo that makes this a reality, with the opportunity to bundle more services and create new kinds of entertainment experiences.

Linpus tips design win on Fujitsu MeeGo netbook

Linux distribution developer Linpus, whose Linpus Lite was one of the first Linux netbook distros, announced it helped developed the MeeGo netbook stack integrated in Fujitsu's LifeBook MH330. The customized software is said to be based on Linpus Lite MeeGo, announced last June.

Linpus Lite MeeGo media player

Linpus Lite MeeGo has now been optimized for multitouch, and offers fast booting, power management, and support for dual-boot implementations with Windows, says Linpus. It also offers an international keyboard, social networking apps, and 3G networking support, says the company.

Linpus Lite MeeGo keyboard

Despite being the first MeeGo User Experience to ship, the netbook UX has so far drawn almost as little attention as handsets. This, however, seems to have more to do with the waning interest in netbooks than any inherent flaws in the netbook stack.

Still, Fujitsu has apparently begun shipping a MeeGo version of its typically Windows-based LifeBook MH330 netbook in Asian markets. In addition, earlier this month Asus CEO Jerry Shen said his company would finally ship a MeeGo-based netbook by June.

Side view of Fujitsu LifeBook MH330

The Fujitsu LifeBook MH330 is based on an Intel N450 or N455 processor, offers a 10.1-inch, 1024 x 600 display, and has a 2.5-inch hard disk drive, says Fujitsu. Additional specs may be found in the link farther below, but the Fujitsu page mentions only Windows, so the MeeGo version may be slightly different.

Stated Lim Teck Sin, vice president, Engineering and Product Marketing, Fujitsu PC Asia Pacific, "Fujitsu's LifeBook MH330 with the pre-installed MeeGo offers an enhanced user experience with its wealth of social networking capabilities, enhanced interactivity and immediate multimedia access, versatility and mobility all in a compact form factor. With Linpus' innovation and achievement in MeeGo, we see the numerous benefits that customers will enjoy and the vast potential it entails."


More information on MeeGo may be found on the MeeGo project home-page.

More on the Amino whitepaper on MeeGo security may be found at the Amino site.

More information on Linpus Lite MeeGo may be found on the Linpus Lite MeeGo web-site.

More information on the Fujitsu LifeBook MH330, at least in its Windows configuration, may be found on its LifeBook MH330 page.

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