This isn’t just a continuation of MeeGo, of course – nobody in the MeeGo community proper would argue that there is a need for change, and we’ve got a few lined up, such as an easier porting story to other devices and architectures (and a much friendlier community atmosphere to such projects), complete meritocracy, and many more.
To get one thing out in the open: this is just the core OS, a Linux distribution. There is no UI, and hardware adaptations are seperate from that core OS. It’s an extremely slim Linux vehicle for making products out of. What you put on top is entirely your business – it’s just a tool.
The idea being that you can then take it, drop a hardware reference for a device you love quite a bit, drop a UX in on top (either one you write yourself, or one from the greater community, like the MeeGo handset UX), and you have a product. Plasma Active is another example of what could be dropped in as a UX. The MeeGo handset community edition will most likely be looking to rebase on top of Mer in the near future.
In terms of the app stories available: Qt is available on Mer, so for developers seeking to target Qt, look to install Mer derivatives on your devices. This doesn’t stop other toolkits or technologies, of course – all are welcome to come and base around Mer.