Jolla Joins the Mobile Phone Circus

So, how many mobile phones makers does the world need? Well, apparently one more: A Finnish one.

Jolla Ltd., pronounced Yolla and whose name means dinghy or small agile boat in Finnish, is a new smartphone technology startup that's setting up a new ecosystem, forming an alliance in Hong Kong, and building its mobile OS and devices on MeeGo, a Linux-based, open-source software platform.

Here's the kicker. Jolla's team is comprised of former directors and core professionals from Nokia's MeeGo N9 organization. And, they've raised $258.8 million (200 million euro) from a variety of telecommunications-industry players to use discarded {complink 3847|Nokia Corp.} technology and launch a new mobile operating platform, wrote the Wall Street Journal. According to the newspaper, a variety of mobile players, including one telecom operator and chipset maker, make up the investor consortium, and Jolla is putting up €10 million into the plan.

The company is slated to unveil its MeeGo-based mobile OS — codenamed Sailfish — at the Slush startup conference in Helsinki, Finland, from November 21 to 22, according to TechCrunch.

Among phone geeks and industry watchers, the company, which doesn't seem to have a Website yet, is getting some buzz. The company’s Twitter feed, for instance, is filled with interesting nuggets, including a question about whether Jolla will make a difference in the smartphone market.

That's a good question. How will Jolla stand out in a hyper-competitive and crowded market, where clearly only a few players are dominating in almost every region? We are bringing a new ecosystem. We are bringing a new total user experience. We are bringing a new device. We are bringing a new company. We are actually differentiating on every major front,” said Jussi Hurmola, Jolla's CEO, in a KickNetwork interview.

While he couldn't disclose details yet because the product hasn't launched, Hurmola added that there is room in the market for one more player. “I can guarantee that it will stand-out from the crowd… RIM was there. Nokia was there. Symbian was there. Android came. iOS came. So it's a constantly changing game. There's always room for a new ecosystem. There are always one leader and other parties. That will always continue, but the leader will change. We're going to provide something fun and new, and an alternative for the users.”

Yeah, that's true, Jussi. The industry has seen a tremendous amount of change in just the last few years. (Who would have imagined, for example, all the troubles that have recently plagued RIM and Nokia, or the courts deciding whether Samsung or Apple deserves the top spot?) But do customers want a new ecosystem or new devices?

“It will be hard, and of course I am humble against our challenges. But still, we have been having fun so far. The feedback from the users and the market has been excellent so far. I'm confident we can do it,” Hurmola continued in the video interview with KickNetwork.

I, for one, love the idea of competition, and it's interesting to watch this space evolve. But it's getting to be a bit of a three-ring circus, isn't it? And, it looks as if Jolla will have to walk the tightrope, balancing between giving consumers a viable alternative and elbowing out a niche between industry heavyweights.

5 comments on “Jolla Joins the Mobile Phone Circus

  1. SP
    October 16, 2012

    Like the title of the article. Well its definitely a circus. In circus atleast we have different characters. Here as it looks like everyone wants to do the same job. Then we are just increasing the competition whereas there are many sectors that are left unattended or get minimal attention.

  2. Ariella
    October 16, 2012

    @Jen  But do customers want a new ecosystem or new devices?  Now that is a key question. What do you think about it?

  3. Barbara Jorgensen
    October 16, 2012

    I'm with you Jenn–go free enterprise!!!–but breaking into the mobile phone space? Argh. Good luck to them. I always admired companies that used Linux bcause I love the idea of a non-Windows platform. But isn't that what Android is all about? I do wish them luck, but I can't think of a market that is more dog-eat-dog than mobile phones…unless it's….hmmmm…SEARCH ENGINES?

  4. elctrnx_lyf
    October 17, 2012

    This is really getting interesting everyday. I believe Jolla will come out with niche product to attract a good number of mobile consumer base. I can't stop praising this company for the level of their optimism in the middle of android, ios and windows.

  5. t.alex
    October 17, 2012

    Windows phone was actually late to the game but received quite a number of thumbs-up. Let's see what Jolla has to offer.

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