Android vs. Maemo
By on March 24th, 2010

Touchscreen Smartphones have become massively popular since Apple introduced its iPhone.

In the last year or so, many touchscreen devices have come into the market. The growth of smartphones has led to development of better mobile operating systems.

Today, let’s compare two of the most powerful mobile OS: Android and Maemo .

Both Android and Maemo are Linux based operating systems but there is definitely a big difference between the two. Maemo   is a fully Debian based distro while Android is a solitary kernel with a few programs like Dalvik virtual machine and Sqlite database written on top of it.

Maemo`s ability to run largely-unmodified linux packages is the main difference compared to Android.

Maemo uses established desktop technology like X11 and GTK+ and is a lot easier to port existing applications. Some of the open-source apps, which are already ported to Maemo, include MPlayer, Pidgin, Gnumeric and Abiword. Android on the other hand runs applications in a Java-like virtual machine and hence the burden on authors is heavier, as they have to re-write the application from scratch.

For game developers, Maemo offers a common start-up and settings screen, and a framework called Osso-games-startup. This library has made the work of game developers a lot easier as they can now reduce the common start-up screen coding and concentrate more on game programming.

As far as strategic position is concerned, Android holds an edge over Maemo. The reason being, Nokia alone backs Maemo (featuring in four devices:   Nokia N770, N800, N810, N900 by the end of the year) , while Android is backed by  Google, Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC, Acer and others (featuring in more than 18 devices). Maemo has a big disadvantage here. The best apps are going to be built for Android and iPhone because those will have the most users. However it seems that Maemo   is  more suitable for larger devices   like MIDs and netbooks.

The fate of Maemo may change drastically when Maemo imports Moblin OS next year. This new OS is to be called Meego and might very well change the future of Mobile computing.

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Author: Arnaw Kumar
Arnaw is an undergraduate who is really into hacking and modding cell phones. For him, nothing gets better than an S60 and a chance to ruin it.

Arnaw Kumar has written and can be contacted at arnaw@techie-buzz.com.
 
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