Some people will tell you fragmentation is one of the main things that is holding back Linux from desktop adoption. Not having a unified name, packaging system, or heck even desktop environment often confuses new users and puts them into overload - Too much choice can be a bad thing.
Android is currently the only real player in the Linux mobile market. Now don't get me wrong, I am glad Android jumped in record time to right near the top of the smart phone market. I'm also glad that through this success it has put the power of Linux into the hands of millions of people (many of whom are none the wiser about their penguin powered device).
If Android is doing so well, one might ask - why does there need to be another Linux variation present in the mobile market? For starters, just as too much fragmentation is a bad thing having only one choice I feel is equally as bad. MeeGo will provide an alternate mobile platform that is Linux based for those of us who prefer something different to Android. There are a few reasons I personally prefer what MeeGo is to become instead of what Android is today.
First, MeeGo is backed by the Linux Foundation - a non-profit organization. Google has a lot of fantastic free services (heck this blog is even hosted on one of them), but the goal of these services as many of us all know is data mining (plus Google is about as far from a non-profit as you can get). I'd much prefer an operating system running on my device that is by people, for people. Not by people, for data mining.
MeeGo is going to have a real package management system. It is RPM based, but still it is better than simply having a "market place". The applications that are to be installed via this package management system are also to be written and compiled the same other native Linux applications are - using any language that is supported by the operating system. Instead of using a java layer like Android does.
Lastly, because MeeGo is backed by the Linux Foundation I'd bet most anything that they won't be forking the kernel like Google has done with Android. Having a mainstream kernel running in MeeGo will help ensure that other distros with a mainstream kernel will also be able to run on the same hardware with the least amount of issues possible.
Now I am sure the MeeGo hand held project is going to change and mature a lot over the next few months before we see it officially released into the market, but I'd be willing to bet that most all of these changes are going to be for the better and will only add to my above list. Do you think MeeGo is going to be able to compete with Android getting into the market this late?
Also, in case you noticed it - yes the horrible pun in the title is intentional.