Jolla, the Finland-based start-up formed by ex-Nokia employees working on the MeeGo operating system, has reportedly received around 200 million Euros ($258 million) in funding, and is all set to unveil its flagship phone running on the MeeGo platform next month, as per a Wall Street Journal report.
The company has raised the funding from “a variety of telecommunications players” including OEMs, chip manufacturers, operators and retailers. Jolla's chief Jussi Hurmola, also told the Wall Street Journal that the funding comes as part of a new ecosystem alliance based in Hong Kong.
The company will launch the new phone with its own version of the MeeGo operating system on board, codenamed ‘Sailfish’. Jolla told the WSJ that the new OS will be ready to be licensed by device manufacturers by the spring of 2013.
The new version of the MeeGo operating system will not be the same as the MeeGo Harmattan OS that runs on the Nokia N9 though; that version of the MeeGo OS was developed by and has components that are still owned by Nokia. The new version of the OS has evolved from MeeGo OS using Mer Core and Qt with Jolla technology, including its own brand new UI.
Jolla to unveil its own smartphone powered by MeeGo.
Jolla Ltd. was formed by a group of ex-Nokia employees along with enthusiasts of the MeeGo OS. Jolla is Finnish for rescue sail boat or dinghy, and is a reference to what they aim to bring to the table when they launch their MeeGo-based smartphone.
Speaking about the company at the time, Chief Operating Officer Marc Dillon said, “Jolla Ltd. is a Finland based smartphone company which continues the great work that Nokia started with MeeGo. The Jolla team is formed by directors and core professionals from Nokia's MeeGo N9 organization, together with some of the best minds working on MeeGo in the communities. Nokia created something wonderful – the world's best smartphone product. It deserves to be continued, and we will do that together with all the bright and gifted people contributing to the MeeGo success story.”
The open source community was very excited when MeeGo was first announced in February 2010 by Intel and Nokia in a joint press conference. According to Intel, MeeGo was developed because Microsoft did not offer comprehensive Windows 7 support for the Atom processor. The MeeGo core operating system is a Linux distribution based on Intel’s Fedora-based Moblin and Nokia’s Debian-based Maemo.
Though adored by a niche audience, MeeGo never saw much mainstream success. The last phone to come out of Nokia's factories to run on MeeGo was the N9. After the release of the Windows Phone line-up, Nokia has backed off from efforts to revitalize MeeGo, focusing most of its resources instead on its new partnership with Microsoft.
Hurmola was recently quoted in the media as saying that MeeGo would be getting a software store where users could get apps for their devices. Hurmola said that it is clear that Jolla’s next phone needs an ecosystem for third party apps.
“We have now published our Qt/QML story but this is not enough. We are all the time building our ecosystem and we will also create a software store where consumers can buy applications for their phone,” he said. “When the smart phone hits the market, it must absolutely have large number of applications available.”
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