Jolla Aims to Challenge iOS and Android

Nokia n9 Runs MeeGoNokia/Intel’s MeeGo operating system is taking another go at cracking the mobile market. Jolla, a mobile startup, is looking to launch its first device running MeeGo later this year. Jolla’s CEO Jussi Hurmola (formerly of Nokia) hopes the new OS will give Apple and Google a run for its mobile money.

The new devices featuring the Linux-based system haven’t been debuted yet, but Jussi recently spoke to Gigaom about what the market can expect from Jolla and why the company thinks it has a chance of making a splash.

So when’s that phone coming and what will it look like?
We’re going to announce the smartphone later this year. When we announce it, we’ll also say when you can buy it. We’re setting up an ecosystem. You can’t do a smartphone without supporting developers, services, navigation — we are setting all that up.

It’s MeeGo with our own interface, and nice new features and functionality. We can talk about these when we come out with the product, but we want to get away from that [standard user experience of] opening and closing applications. That is a five-year-old design pattern and user experience. We want to go further. They’re pretty individualistic machines these days, smartphones. We want to be the phone that handles messaging, calendars and so on in an inclusive way, so you can have concepts like the family in the device.

We’re also talking about using the MeeGo software in other devices — not just Jolla. We want to make as big a wave as possible.

Fragmentation is a big issue with Android’s different form factors. How are you going to avoid the same problem?
One interesting thing about MeeGo is it supported multiple categories of devices, from car dashboards to smartphones and laptops. We feel that’s important for us, and we’ve been playing with our UI in different devices from TVs to featurephones, and are trying to make the framework and UI components scalable. We can enable physical variation while making it easy for developers to write Qt QML native apps. We understand developers need a stable platform and the smartphone will represent the default form of Jolla’s MeeGo-based platform.

But why would an operator choose to work with you?
From a technical point of view we can integrate the operator’s value-added services into the device, so they don’t have to be an over-the-top application. So many operator-service apps are lost, as people don’t find them or use them. With an open and independent platform, we can integrate these value-added services into the functionality of the device itself.

From an ecosystem point of view, we offer an alternative. Services are not bound to the platform. Let’s say there’s a big music or video label that usually has to go through branded front-ends: with Jolla and its Meego-based ecosystem they can connect to the customer with their own brand. At the moment we are so small and agile that we can integrate and develop new features really quickly. We will launch a very interesting device with a very cool brand and quality.

Read the full interview at Gigaom >>>

Jolla is starting out in the Chinese market and hopes to spread region-by-region with Europe as its next target. Jussi also mentions in the interview that he hopes the OS will spread to non-Jolla devices. More than just traditional open source, Jussi hopes to cultivate cross-brand collaborations in a “powered by Jolla” sense. This opens up a whole world of designer handsets.

With BB 10 on the horizon and an announcement from Jolla coming soon, developers and testers are going to find themselves even busier (and with a bigger matrix to cover).

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