Ex-Nokia staffers join to launch new smartphone

 

New life for MeeGo?

A Finnish startup, formed by former Nokia employees and using technology ditched by the handset maker, plans to launch its first smartphone later this year.

The startup, Jolla, will use MeeGo software, created out of a joint venture between Nokia and Intel in 2010.

Linux-based MeeGo has found use in netbooks and car infotainment systems, but so far has been deployed in just one smartphone model, the Nokia N9.

Finland's Nokia last year swapped its own software platforms, MeeGo and Symbian, for Microsoft's Windows Phone — a move that has hit its sales and sent its share price crashing. It has yet to disclose N9 sales figures.

Meanwhile, Intel has sought to combine the MeeGo platform with a similar Linux-based platform from Samsung to strengthen the platform's potential.

It appears Jolla's smartphone will be the first of its type in recent months to use the operating system, however.

Jolla, formed out of former staffers from Nokia's MeeGo division as well as open source contributors, said it would focus on designing, developing and selling new smartphones based on the platform.

It would unveil the first model later this year, together with international private investors and partners.

Analysts said the new company would struggle to break into the highly competitive smartphone market, which is dominated by Google's Android and Apple iOS.

"The art is not to create one cool phone, the challenge is to create a sustainable business. And when you have got all that in place you have to bring your product to the market," said John Strand, founder of Danish telecoms consultancy Strand Consult.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Dale Hudson)


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