Intel Acquires Telmap to Further Mobile Location Ambitions

Intel (NAS: INTC) has reached an agreement to acquire navigation and location-based services firm Telmap, announcing the move during this week's Intel AppUp Elements developer event in Seattle. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Telmap will continue as a wholly owned Intel subsidiary.

Writing on the AppUp Developer Program blog, AppUp general manager Peter Biddle states Intel acquired Telmap to leverage the firm's end-to-end mobile local search, mapping and navigation services, enhancing its efforts to deliver integrated user experiences across consumer devices. Biddle adds the Telmap purchase will enable Intel to offer a standard set of location-based APIs and software enabling developers to add differentiated, cross-platform location capabilities to apps sold via the AppUp storefront.

Telmap CEO Oren Nissim tells Hexus.Channel that talks with Intel began in February 2011 during the annual Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. "Outside of our core business of working with operators we have developed a back-end platform," Nissim said. "Intel is growing a very big software and services division with acquisitions such as McAfee and Wind River. Telmap will be a big part of this and AppUp developers will be able to use our API."

The Telmap announcement follows days after Intel confirmed it is halting development of its MeeGo open-source mobile platform to throw its support behind Tizen, the new Linux-based cross-architecture device software platform spearheaded by the Linux Foundation and LiMo Foundation. Targeting multiple device categories including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks and in-vehicle infotainment systems, Tizen combines open-source technologies with a standards-based HTML5 and Wholesale Applications Community web development environment, enabling the creation of device-independent, cross-platform mobile applications.

The fate of MeeGo -- which combined Intel's former Moblin efforts with Nokia's (NYS: NOK) former Maemo platform -- has been the subject of conjecture since early 2011, when Nokia inked a broad strategic partnership with Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) that positions the software maker's Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system as Nokia's primary smartphone platform. Intel vice president Doug Fisher recently told The Wall Street Journal the company remained "fully committed" to MeeGo's development but suggested it was searching for a partner to replace Nokia.

"Why not just evolve MeeGo?" writes Imad Sousou, director of Intel's Open Source Technology Center, on the blog. "We believe the future belongs to HTML5-based applications, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5. Shifting to HTML5 doesn't just mean slapping a web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been. Emphasizing HTML5 means that APIs not visible to HTML5 programmers need not be as rigid, and can evolve with platform technology and can vary by market segment." Sousou adds Intel will work to transition MeeGo users and developers to Tizen.

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