Recent advances in smartphone technology have turned many phones into portable computers. While many systems for smartphones are closed-source and proprietary, there are an increasing number of open source systems that users can put on their phones. Among these are MeeGo and Android.
Sponsors and Linux
The Android operating system is officially maintained by Google, and the MeeGo operating system is officially maintained by Intel and Nokia. Both the MeeGo and Android operating systems are based on the Linux kernel. This is the same kernel that runs the desktop and laptop distributions of Linux. Because the Linux kernel has an open-source license, it dictates that anything that uses it must have open source components as well.
Sponsors and Licenses
MeeGo is a fully open-source operating system. This means that every line of code is publicly available for programmers to inspect, improve upon and incorporate into their own open-source applications. The Android operating system is largely open-sourced but contains many proprietary components whose source code is not released to the public. However, programmers can still contribute their own open source contributions for Google to incorporate into the open-source part of the operating system.
Architecture and Language
Although both systems are Linux-based, the higher level software for MeeGo and Android is significantly different. For one, they use two different programming languages: Android uses Java, whereas MeeGo uses C++ and the Qt graphical library in its development. The two systems also handle running programs differently: Android uses a virtual machine in which every program it runs is a separate instance. MeeGo uses a more traditional process-based approach.
As of this writing, Android had a much larger market share among smart phones. Because application developers always have a greater monetary incentive to develop applications for systems that have a larger market share, Android developed a much larger marketplace of applications before MeeGo did. As of 2011, Android had over 200,000 applications in its market, while MeeGo was still officially in development and had yet to establish an official applications store.
- Zacks Investment Research; Nokia Reverts Back To MeeGo; June 2011
- Tech Radar; iOS vs Android vs WebOS vs MeeGo; Dean Evans; February 2011
- ZDNet; Should Nokia Drop MeeGo and Put Google Android on Their Hardware?; Matthew Miller; July 2010
- RushK; Android Vs MeeGo; May 2011
- MeeGo Developer: Getting Started
- Android Developers: The Developer's Guide
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