Are Apple and Google SMIRKING at Nokia?

A group of former Nokia (NYSE:NOK) employees has formed a mobile phone startup with the aim of bringing devices running on the MeeGo operating system to the market. Nokia got together with Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) in 2010 to launch MeeGo, a Linux-based open-source operating system for smartphones. While it was initially designed as an alternative to Nokia’s own Symbian platform, the Finnish company abandoned its development after deciding to partner with Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone software last year.

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Jolla, which has been created by “directors and core professionals from Nokia’s MeeGo N9 organization, together with some of the best minds working on MeeGo in the communities,” is hoping to unveil a new smartphone within the next six months. “We are seriously making a smartphone here,” Jolla’s Jussi Hurmola told the Wall Street Journal. “With all the respect to iOS and Android, I’m quite sure that the market is ready for something new. As I see it, there are user segments that have been left unserved,” Hurmola said, referring to the highly successful Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) platforms, respectively, which have dominated the market lately.

Jolla is hoping to raise about €10 million ($12.3 million) from private investors to develop the new phone and is already in talks with various partners, including hardware makers and chip set suppliers, for the manufacturing process to begin.

“There is this view that certain players dominate the market, but it’s not really true,” Hurmola said. “If you look at any two-year span in the mobile industry you see that the type of devices and the companies dominating the market change dramatically. If we manage to hit the right notes, I’m sure market will change with us. We are not aiming to become a niche player.”

Hurmola said MeeGo’s security framework, fast user interface, and full support for multitasking made it a highly useful platform. He added that Jolla will need to sell between 50,000 to 100,000 devices to break even.

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) created something wonderful — the world’s best smartphone product,” Jolla said in release. “It deserves to be continued, and we will do that together with all the bright and gifted people contributing to the MeeGo success story.”

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