Today I had my first chance to test drive MeeGo, the Linux variant designs for use on low-power and embedded devices. I had a play with the OS on both netbook and tablet devices, as well as a very quick look at MeeGo on an in-car system. How's it stacking up against the Androids and Chromebooks of the world?
The great news: MeeGo on a netbook was excellent. Snappy, slick, and with no prior experience with the OS it only took about 30 seconds to pick up on the metaphor. I tested on an Asus Aspire One Happy netbook.
The bad news: MeeGo on a tablet was horrid. With an entirely different user interface to the lovely netbook option, this felt like a tablet wannabe. I tried three different models after thinking there was maybe a hardware problem, but all were the same. Scrolling felt like a tug-of-war, screen rotation would stick, and launching anything felt like hard labour. Ouch.
The positive news: It's very early days for the tablet UX for MeeGo, so this was pure preview build. But man was it bad! Not the kind of thing to encourage people to use this platform on their devices. I wonder why they moved so far away from the slick netbook interface.
On that positive light, the car system interface was fairly similar to the tablet option, but this worked much better. Still quite stilted, it was at least functional and definitely suited the large icon interactions you would want from an embedded car device.
Overall I'm a little more confident in MeeGo. I often wondered why we would want 'yet another' option in the space, but having had the experience I could easily be convinced to run this on a spare netbook.