Can China’s Tencent breath life into Intel’s MeeGo mobile platform?

Intel and China’s mega-popular internet portal service Tencent announced today that they are launching a joint Innovation Center for MeeGo (the open-source mobile operating system pushed by Nokia and Intel that Nokia has since abandoned for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7) in Shanghai. The announcement came at the IDF Beijing 2011 conference and was almost overlooked among the numerous other announcements coming out of the event. But it’s actually a very interesting maneuver.

The partnership between the two companies isn’t brand spanking new, as they announced their official courtship back in April 2010. However, now they’re solidifying it with this commitment to build an innovation center and grow it from 60 engineers to 100 by year’s end. What are they planning on doing in this center? Well, bringing apps to all forms of MeeGo devices, but first on their list is games for MeeGo tablets featuring Intel’s Oak Trail processors.

Game hardware maker Razer announced on day two of the IDF Beijing conference that it is bringing the Switchblade, an Oak Trail Gaming device to the Chinese market first. Who do you think is going to be providing the games for this platform? Why, Tencent, of course! On day one of the conference, it announced it has plans to build games leveraging the power of Oak Trail using MeeGo, and on day two it announced a partnership with the hottest Oak Trail device currently coming to market.

Razer and Tencent are bring four immensely popular online games with roughly 600 million monthly gamers to mobile. Razer is going to focus optimization of the Switchblade on League of Legends as well as Dungeon & Fighter, Crossfire and QQ Speed. Tencent sees 130 million active monthly users between the four games and views Oak Trail as the mobile computing platform able to deliver a powerful gaming experience. Though the Switchblade is currently running Windows 7, both Tencent and Razer concluded that they were interesting in the possibility of delivering MeeGo on the device.

It’s not every day that Intel announces a partner that will declare on stage in a press event that “Android is a mess” and then praise MeeGo’s openness. Intel is going to need many more partners like Tencent if MeeGo is going to stand a chance against Google’s Android mobile operating system. In an ecosystem full of distain for Android because of a lack of marketplace support Intel has found a sympathetic shoulder after being abandoned so harshly by Nokia. This is not enough to revive its struggling OS, but for now, it’s a sign that there is still life in MeeGo yet.

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