Ex Nokia Staff Make Rival Smartphone

News Article - Wednesday, 22 May 2013 11:07

By: Kerry Butters Category: Connectivity

A new smartphone and mobile operating system is due to be launched at the end of 2013, which has been developed by a team of former Nokia employees.

The ‘Jolla’, will run a custom operating system known as Sailfish , which is a leftover of MeeGo, an abandoned project of Nokia’s which the company dropped in 2011 in favour of the Windows Phone OS.

The handset will be launched with a price tag of 399 Euros and will have a 4.5” screen, 8MP camera, 4G capabilities and the OS will be compatible with Android apps.

A unique feature of the Jolla will be the ability to swap the coloured back of the phone to alter the theme of the OS. For example, a blue back will change the user interface so that the interface is altered to a blue colour scheme.

Jolla will also feature a dual-core processor and a user-changeable battery, as well as Sailfish gestures and the previously mentioned "The Other Half” interchangeable back. It’s not yet known how the latter feature works, but many suspect that it uses NFC technology.

"For a couple of years we haven't had anything really interesting in the mobile phone market," said Antti Saarnio, chairman and co-founder of Jolla.

"This creates opportunities for newcomers to come in. It's different, but it's purposefully different."

Saarnio left Nokia on 2011 with a few other employees that had been working on a joint Nokia and Intel project. MeeGo was eventually abandoned after only being released on one handset, the N9-00, and Saarnio felt that the OS had been developed enough to succeed in the future.

"The team really felt that this was one of the best phones in the market, even though it was quite under-marketed," he said.

"Everybody felt so strongly that they wanted to continue."

Following leaving Nokia, the former employees set up their own company in order to continue working on MeeBo. Saarnio said that there was no bad feeling between the ex-employees and Nokia and said it would be happy to let Nokia use Sailfish in the future.

"We are actually quite open - we are offering this operating system for other smartphone makers to use.

"Let's wait and see and we will just do our best in our business."

Jolla is an interesting entry to the smartphone market which is seeing many of the bigger handset manufacturers floundering. HTC has recently seen something of a mass exodus of employees following a "disastrous slump in sales”.

Blackberry are also struggling to gain any traction in a market where Apple and Samsung look set to continue dominating for the foreseeable future.

If nothing else, introducing a new OS at this particular time seems like a brave move. Jolla is available for pre-order now and those ordering will receive a 100 Euro discount voucher, a limited edition handset and a Jolla t-shirt.

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