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Ex-Nokia staff launches smartphone Jolla

05.20.13_technewsrprt_img_stories_regina-timothy_jolla

A group of ex-Nokia employees who quit over the company’s decision to abandon the planned MeeGo operating system in 2011 in favour of Windows presented their own smartphone on Monday, hoping to rival the sector’s giants.

The model, which is so far just called Jolla, has a 4.5-inch touch screen and features two different-coloured halves that together make up the phone. It is to go on sale in the fourth quarter, retailing for 399 euros ($513).

Jolla, which counts four former Nokia engineers and directors among its five founders, was started in 2011 and now has some 70 employees.

Sailfish OS, a gesture-controlled platform developed by Jolla and previewed in last November, is built on top of Google’s Linux-powered Android, there’s the ability to run Android applications even if the Google Play store of software is unlikely to feature.

According to Marc Dillon, head of Sailfish development, existing operating systems “do not really support a great deal of flexibility. One (iOS) is completely closed and one (Android) pushes its own services pretty heavily.”

“I see that Sailfish will be used on lots of different devices from other manufacturers as well. We have a constant stream of interest,” he told AFP.

Dillon said he would be “very happy with one million sold devices in one year.”

Jolla hopes to take on markets in China, Europe and North Africa, but not the United States.

Smartphone operating systems are dominated by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Jolla’s Sailfish, like Microsoft’s Windows and Mozilla’s Firefox, are trying to break their dominance on the market.

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