The culling of MeeGo by Nokia under Stephen Elop shall remain one of the tech world’s greatest mysteries (and gave rise to some of the most intriguing conspiracy theories, ever). The proprietary OS built from scratch by Nokia in partnership with Intel would have been, by all accounts, the most defining moment in mobile technology since the iPhone’s launch in 2007.
In the year or so since the launch of the only MeeGo-based smartphone, the Nokia N9, it remains one of the most elusive and coveted of smart devices, with a dedicated community of developers pushing out highly polished apps for MeeGo-Harmattan, mostly for free. Think the Smart Answer app is cool? The same app was developed for the N9 weeks before the Galaxy S3’s launch. Even the screenshot capture method for Samsung’s Android flagship has similarities to the N9’s ScreenshotMee app.
But, without any external support, even the community support is waning. It was a wonderful surprise (and perfect timing) then that Jussi Hurmola announced that his startup company, Jolla Mobile, will be producing MeeGo-based smartphones.
Jussi Hurmola was the Head of Operations for MeeGo at Nokia before he was unceremoniously dumped along with the other Nokia staff working on MeeGo last month.
Currently, Jolla has around 50 employees, with almost half of them coming from the MeeGo team at Nokia. The rest have been recruited from the community of developers for not just MeeGo, but Maemo as well. As it is, their progress has been very promising, having secured a dealership contract with one of China’s largest telco companies, D.Phone, with the promise of more to come.
What is most attractive to many about Jolla is their promise to continue on MeeGo where Nokia has left off. One of the biggest advantage MeeGo has over other OSes is true multitasking (no suspended apps, user has direct control over which apps is opened and closed), and Hurmola has stated that this will be their ace up their proverbial sleeve. What will not be kept, unfortunately, is the N9’s award-winning and highly intuitive Swipe UI as it is Nokia’s patent.
For now, the company remains tight-lipped on their new device – although Hurmola has mentioned that it will be launched later this year. We’ll be keeping you up to date on Jolla’s progress, as this just might be the smartphone to look out for.