MeeGo first look and preview

The news of the release of ASUS EEE X101 really excited me. The laptop looks great, much better than many netbooks on market today. It has a very attractive price, and on the top of that, it runs MeeGo – an all new operating system for both computers and mobile phones. Having looked at some videos of MeeGo running on X101 and Nokia N9, I might say it is a strong competitor for other operating systems.

However, just watching videos doesn’t do justice. I’m still curious about how MeeGo perform on actual device. Consequently, I tried downloading MeeGo to test on my Alienware m11x. The steps are easy, you can download it and burn it into a DVD. Its volume size is about 900MB and the operating system can be run on the Live DVD without having to install it. I even customize the color of my Alienware m11x backlit keyboard just to fit the operating system, and as you can see from the picture it looks pretty nice.

I have to say that I was amazed with the graphical interface of MeeGo. Everything looks great, from the boot screen to every application icons. Although all of them are designed “cartoon-like”, they still provide a professional look and still have the attractiveness for users. Even the shadow dropped by the application window (or dialog box) looks great and suit the overall theme of MeeGo. It doesn’t have many fancy animation, on the other hand it keeps the operating system work efficiently while still be eye-catching.

 MeeGo desktop with a nice toolbar on top

Nice cartoon-like icons

MeeGo put everything easily accessible on its toolbar, including your online instant messenger contacts, currently playing music and opened webpage. All are well presented in separate tabs and can be controlled without having to open the application

Online contacts

Currently playing music

Device tab showing all folders and plugged in devices

Calendar tab showing current time and date as well as your appointments

All of your updates are updated in the Home tab. For now I still don’t know which kind of update will be displayed on the tab, but as you can see in the screenshot, at least facebook and music and probably some file operations are automatically updated

The Home tab

MeeGo opens each window in different workspace. Many application window is maximized. The reason for this is the operating system is mainly targeted for netbooks and small screen-size laptops. I somehow don’t really like this idea. After using it for a while I found it impractical, but others might think different.

The operating system may also include Google Chrome pre-installed (depends on what version you choose to download). The browser works flawlessly with Flash supported and I had no problem with that.

Google Chrome browser

Most applications are very basic and lack of functionality. On the other hand they all have nice icons and looks nice, but they doesn’t help you much.

File browser

Notification looks nice but doesn’t have any special features

Despite being based on RPM repositories, the number of applications can be installed on MeeGo is incredibly limited. I’m sure most Linux application could be installed on MeeGo somehow, but in the perspective of end-users, this can be a major problem. Just hope the final release of MeeGo will cover this problem.

Final words:

MeeGo is a very promising operating system. It has an unique and attractive graphical interface. Like many other people who have seen the demonstration of MeeGo, I really loved it. However, due to the lack of functionality and also the inconvenience in many operations, I can’t help but think of MeeGo as a polished but incomplete version of Ubuntu netbook. If you ask me, I would rather install any other Linux distro (those with GNOME 3 are currently my favourites) and then customize its looks-and-feels than install MeeGo just for its looks. MeeGo’s toolbar is highly practical, but doesn’t mean there is no such application which can do the same thing.

It took me a while to know how to turn off the computer

MeeGo is still in its early phase. The ambition of MeeGo is really enormous. It wants to present on every devices, from netbooks to tablets, from mobile phones to embedded devices. However in the current situation, I can only say one thing about it: “Not there yet”.

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