On Jolla’s Promise to Build New MeeGo Based Smartphones

I’ll concede that when the Nokia N9 was first announced last year, I kind of fell in love with the design of the phone. Although I never managed to grab one, from what I saw in a few videos on what the UI/UX was like, it seemed like a very nice mobile OS (though lacking a critical component of a robust app store ecosystem).

After Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop announced the companies plans to go full steam ahead with Windows Phone 7, the MeeGo platform was dropped forthwith. Whilst it still remains to be seen if Windows Phone 7 is the panacea for all that ails the company, it seems that MeeGo has another stab re-joining the mobile OS market.

A team of ex-Nokia staff have formed their own company called Jolla. Put simply, their plan is to start manufacturing mobile phones and breath fresh life into the open-sourced MeeGo platform. I have no qualms with a new entrant into this already extremely cut-throat space, however, Jolla’s comments in their recent press release come across as extremely arrogant and foolhardy. Perhaps, it may come to bite them in the ass.

Jolla’s press release (Via Aaron Souppouris reporting for The Verge):

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. Together with international investors and partners, Jolla Ltd. will design, develop and sell new MeeGo based smartphones. The Jolla team consists of a substantial number of MeeGo’s core engineers and directors, and is aggressively hiring the top MeeGo talent to contribute to the next generation smartphone production.

Make note of this gem in the aforementioned quote: “the world’s best smartphone.” Right, because Nokia has had the worlds “best” hardware, software, and app ecosystem since… Never. The last time Nokia was relevant was sometime pre–2007, when no one had the better option of using an iPhone. I think it’s great that ex-Nokia engineers have the audacity and drive to achieve a very difficult task, but it would be wise for them to hold their tongue and stay humble until they manage to ship a complete product.

It remains to be seen whether or not Jolla can get their feet off the ground. Who knows, maybe they’ll get enough funding and will be able to ship a great MeeGo product, or maybe they’ll disappear off the face of the planet after bungling the entire project. Whatever happens, I’d love to see how MeeGo will end up.