Saturday, July 7 was a big day for Nokia N9 owners and MeeGo sympathisers. Already on Friday, a former Nokia MeeGo product manager announced "interesting news tomorrow for MeeGo". The eagerly awaited news has the name "Jolla". The exciting and courageous mission of Jolla is to develop and sell new MeeGo based smartphones produced by professionals who created Nokia N9.
Nokia N9 is the only smartphone running Nokia's homemade platform MeeGo Harmattan. What started with an promising alliance between Nokia and Intel, ended with CEO Stephen Elop and the introduction of a Nokia-Microsoft cooperation.
The innovative and refreshing MeeGo Harmattan platform, running on the stunning looking Nokia N9, posed a threat to the rather unpopular Windows Phone system and therefore got "killed" by Nokia's own management.
The disappointment among Nokia fans was huge and MeeGo's future hasn't been looking very bright since then. However, Nokia N9 has never been a dead platform and enjoyed great support by a loyal community and Nokia professionals who worked on and developed that device. Despite lacking support of big software developers and Nokia itself, the only one year old N9 already enjoys cult-status - especially because it is the first but also last device of it's kind.
MeeGo kept alive by Jolla Ltd.
Jussi Hurmola and Marc Dillon, both former Nokia employees, announced in a press release that they have been working on a MeeGo-successor called Jolla since the end of 2011.
A new smartphone should already be presented this year - the hardware manufacturing will be done by an external partner, whose name isn't mentioned. The reactions on the Jolla announcement were very positive and got picked up by media all around the world. Within only one day, Jolla's Twitter account got around 5000 new followers - an impressive number. Jolla was founded within the Nokias Bridge program, which Nokia created to support the redundant workers re-employment and entrepreneurship.
Jolla's CEO Jussi Hurmola describes Nokia N9 as the world's best smartphone which deserves to be continued and leads a team composed of directors and designers who used to work on the Nokia N9 project. With the help of international private investors and partners, Jolla Ltd "will design, develop and sell new MeeGo based smartphones" and is "aggressively hiring the top MeeGo talents to contribute to the next generation smartphone production".
"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." - Source
MeeGo is not MeeGo Harmattan
Nokia N9 doesn't run the original, by the Linux Foundation hosted MeeGo. Nokia alternated the system and mixed it up with the in-house made Maemo. Therefore the platform is unofficially also called Maemo6 as a successor of Maemo5 running on Nokia N900. Therefore Jolla can't keep supporting MeeGo Harmattan since it's protected by Nokia.
Jolla's platform has evolved from MeeGo OS using Mer Core and Qt combined with Jolla technology and it's own new user interface. We can expect though that Jolla's team sets value on giving developers a possibility to easily transform N9 applications to the new platform - especially since both platforms use Qt framework. But Jussi Hurmola didn't specify so far if the new platform takes advantages of existing N9 applications or creates a completely new and own eco-system. Next to that there would be possibilities with an application compatibility layer (ACL).
Furthermore it's possible that some appreciated features of MeeGo Harmattan (hopefully something similar to Swipe) will be retained, since Nokia seemed to have shared some of their patents with people leaving the company.
The announcement of Jolla brings new life into the Nokia N9 community and is also a future for our website. It's amazing to hear that the knowledge which created the N9 isn't lost and keeps living on within a new company. We also want to highlight that Jolla already answered many questions (Twitter) to potential users/developers and is really seeking the contact to them and the hole community - they also follow us on Twitter what we appreciate a lot.
You can follow Jolla on Twitter or Facebook.