HELSINKI (AP) — Engineers who used to work for Nokia are hoping to grab a share of the lucrative and highly competitive smartphone market with a new handset, which is based on the former world No. 1 cellphone maker's old software and is faintly reminiscent of its recent models.
The Jolla handset's Sailfish platform has been developed from the MeeGo operating software, Nokia's last open-source platform which it abandoned in 2011 when it switched over to using Microsoft Corp.'s Windows system.
The sleek 4.5-inch phone, which almost looks like it could be part of Nokia's Lumia range, features an eight megapixel camera, supports fast 4G Internet connections and includes the well-received Nokia's HERE mapping services that cover more than 190 countries.
But, unlike Nokia's phones, Jolla is also compatible with more than 85,000 apps provided by Google Inc.'s Android, the popular and dominant operating system that has helped Samsung overtake the former Finnish bellwether to be the world's largest cellphone maker.
Marc Dillon, head of Jolla software and one of four founders of the company in 2011, spent 11 years working for Nokia after moving from the United States. He says Jolla's open operating system gives it an edge over rivals.
"We are providing a world-class choice ... that is an alternative for consumers (and) that can be very agile and powerful," Dillon said in an interview in a Helsinki office block previously occupied by Nokia employees before it laid off thousands. "For our operating system business we have a huge opportunity because there is currently one choice really available to every global mobile manufacturer and that's Android."
Other systems, such as Apple's iOS or Microsoft's Windows, can be carried only on handsets manufactured by those companies.