Sorry for the delay in writing a story about this, but here we finally are: Nokia’s MeeGo (or Maemo or whatever it’s called this hour) is getting its successor. Yes, MeeGo, the short-lived but beloved platform running on the unicorn phone, the Nokia N9, will continue onwards in a slightly different form. Its new home? Jolla – a company formed by former Nokia chief operating officer Marc Dillon, who was the principal engineer for MeeGo/Maemo at Nokia since 2006.
Jolla is more than just a software development house. The company will design, develop and sell MeeGo-based smartphones, with a team consisting of many former Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo engineers, including the brightest minds from the MeeGo/Maemo community.
“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,” Dillon told The Verge in a statement, “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.”
I’ve been told that Dillon has been in stealth-mode with Jolla since autumn 2011, and has already been in contact with manufacturers about building smartphones. In other words, the company didn’t just get founded this weekend; it’s been in operation for a while longer now, outside of the prying eyes of gadget reporters.
Jolla will continue the tradition of a truly open Linux stack on smartphones, just like Maemo used to be. I’m currently playing with my brother’s Nokia N900, which is a nice device hampered by truly awful software (Maemo 5 is… Frustrating, mildly put), but luckily, MeeGo on the N9 is a heck of a lot better (my brother has an N9 as well).
Jolla will build upon the work of the Mer project, which would indicate that it’s going to use Qt/QML and HTML5. The user interface won’t be the same as that of the N9, nor will the hardware look anything like it (those are Nokia products, after all), so it’s going to be interesting what they come up with.
In any case, there’s a hell of a lot of experience in this project, and thanks to the Nokia connection, these people will probably know how to work the industry. I’m very, very curious what they’re going to come up with.