Some ex-Nokia employees have joined forces to create a new handset that runs on a new smartphone platform, that is based on software discarded by Nokia back in 2011.
The members of the team have started their own company and joined up with a major Finnish network. Together they have created the Jolla phone (pronounced Yol-la), and is powered by the open-source operating system Sailfish.
Currently there are only 450 Jolla phones available and the majority of them are ear-marked for customers who pre-ordered them. However co-founder of the company Marc Dillom has said that the plan is to ramp up manufacturing.
He went on to explain that the idea behind the Jolla phone is to offer a more “open” approach to using smartphones.
“There’s different opportunities for people to get apps form different places, different stores,” he said. “We’ve created a world-class platform. Users will be getting more choice.”
This flies in the face of Apple and Android devices, which have a relatively closed system but industry analysts think that the company faces a challenge in entering a market that is dominated by Apple and Google.
The open-source platform Sailfish was originally called MeeGo and was dropped by Nokia in favour of the Windows Phone system.
But Antti Saarnio, chairman and co-founder of Jolla said that Sailfish was not given the chance to succeed and so they are working expand and adapt the platform.
“We are ramping up our Jolla community right now. There’s already a Sailfish website so that developers can come and contribute, he said.”
Analyst Geoff Blaber, from CCS, thinks that Jolla has a good chance of succeeding, despite the strong competition from Android.
“If Jolla can maintain a competitive cost base, there is already an enthusiast base seeking this product. It could be successful, he said.”
However he also warned that Jolla needs to prove itself. “They’ve got to prove the software is competitive and it works.”
But Mr Dillon remains confident and is spurred on by early support for the phone. “We’re not trying to piggy-back, but we have seen a bump,” said Mr Dillon. “We’ve had a lot of support in Finland.”
Who knows what would have happened if Nokia hadn’t gone down the Microsoft route? It will be interesting to see how this one develops.
[Image via Jollatides]