Picking up where Finnish phone giant left off
A new mobile phone using discarded Nokia software is to be unveiled next month by a group of ex-employees capitalising on patent violation fears elsewhere. With the feud over design and intellectual property rights between Apple and Samsung showing no signs of abating, and growing concern it could spill over into Android phones, the former Nokia executives and engineers believe the time has never been better for an alternative operating system. Their Finnish start-up business, Jolla, has already raised $258 million with the help of unnamed partners said to include a telecom operator, chip manufacturer as well as device and component firms.Further investment, possibly through a stock market flotation, is also being considered.
Jolla’s new offering is based around Nokia’s discarded MeeGo OS, introduced in collaboration with Intel in early 2010, but then abandoned in favour of Microsoft Windows Phone platform.
Code-named ‘Sailfish’, the reworked MeeGo will still need to find a foothold in a market where Apple and Google-based Android smartphones accounted for around 80 per cent of global sales in Q2 2012, according to analysts Gartner.
Jussi Hurmola, Jolla’s CEO who yesterday revealed how his company has already ploughed €10 million of its own money into the venture, says the Sailfish system will be ready for licensing by other device manufacturers, design houses and service companies in Spring 2013.
MeeGo software was only used once commercially in a Nokia smartphone called the N9 and was originally developed as a replacement for the company’s homegrown Symbian platform.
MeeGo was then dropped by Nokia boss Stephen Elop, himself a former Microsoft executive, in favour of the Windows Phone platform for future smartphones.
Meanwhile, since Jolla was formed around a year ago, the company has been working flat out to make its version of MeeGo capable of working on different types of devices including smartphones, touch-screen tablet computers and TVs.
Another benefit of the MeeGo-based software is said that it won’t demand the same high-end, costly hardware needed to run the latest versions of Android or Windows Phone, not to mention the fact it doesn’t violate other patents.
Read the official Jolla Ltd Press release here.