February 11, 2011, was a brutal day for Nokia fans. That was the day the company’s CEO, Stephen Elop, got up on stage and announced that Symbian was going to be thrown under the bus, that MeeGo was going to get shelved after the N9 shipped, and that the future of Nokia will be put in Microsoft’s hands. What does Nokia do anymore anyway? They order chips from Qualcomm, download some bits from an American software company, and then tell a bunch of factories in Asia to stamp out a few million phones. The advertising campaigns promoting Lumia phones are outsourced to creative agencies, and the retail environments where those devices are sold are controlled by operators. From my point of view, Nokia is nothing more than a third tier OEM who happens to be located in one of Europe’s most expensive countries instead of China.
But enough about strategic missteps, let’s rewind back to MeeGo. The first and only device to run that OS, the N9, was arguably the best smartphone that Nokia shipped since the N95 back in 2007. It had an incredibly unique user interface, it had a stunning design that was bastardized into what’s known as the Lumia 800 and 900 today, and for some strange reason it wasn’t sold in any major European countries. Ask Nokia how many N9 units they sold and they’ll refuse to answer, which is incredibly odd.
The team that built the software that powers the N9, knowing full well that their work doesn’t have a future as long as Stephen Elop is in charge, got together to form a company called JollaMobile. They’re backed by investors, which they’re not naming, and the only information they’re feeding to the press is that by the end of this year they’ll reveal (translation: not ship) a new smartphone running their OS.
Why didn’t they just keep their mouths shut until they had something to show us?
[Additional Reading: The PDF they sent us.]