Tag: meego

Nokia refugees unveil smartphone

A group of former Nokia executives who left the company rather than work on Windows Mobile have created their first smartphone using Nokia’s rejected operating system MeeGo.

The team wanted to prove that Nokia was daft killing off MeeGo in favour of Windows and want to prove a point.

According to Reuters , the company has 70 employees and $14.11 million in venture financing, the phone, called Jolla,  aims to take advantage of the operating system’s openness.  Its one main difference from other operating systems is that it is possible to download Android apps which means that it can use the Android store.

Jolla, priced at $510, runs on the MeeGo-based Sailfish operating system. It comes with a 4.5-inch display and 8-megapixel camera. It will also be 4G-capable, depending on the market.

The company said that the Jolla will go on sale in the fourth quarter and its main focus will be the Asian market, as a rapid growth in the region’s middle class is fuelling demand for smartphones. 

Finnish start up gives MeeGo new lease of life

MeeGo may have been dealt a bad batch of cards, but it seems the technology could be given a new lease of life.

Former Nokia employees including directors from Nokia’s MeeGo N9 project want to give the technology another chance, and have decided to use it in a new smartphone later on this year.

The startup known as Jolla Mobile said in a statement on its LinkedIn page that it would focus on designing, developing and selling new MeeGo-based smartphones and was working with international private investors and partners to make this a success.

MeeGo, created by Nokia and Intel in 2010 – 2011, hasn’t had a good start in life. It was quickly ditched by Nokia which  turned its back on it for Microsoft Windows phones, while Intel has washed its hands of it too.

Although the Linux-based MeeGo has had a few appearances in netbooks and car infotainment systems, its only smartphone use was for the N9, which fizzled out.

Although the team may have a fight on their hands to keep up with an already overcrowded market, it seems as though they have some key designers on board.

It may just be coincidence that Sotiris Makygiannis, who held the title of MeeGo development lead, left Nokia last week, but it would be interesting to see if he joins this project soon.

MeeGo head leaves doomed project

Nokia and Intel’s flagging MeeGo OS project has been dealt a further blow with key heads of the department handing in their notices.

The project, which the Finnish company designed with Intel, has lost Sotiris Makygiannis, who held the title of MeeGo development lead.

Tweeting his plans to leave the company, Mr Makygiannis wrote: “After 12 years at #Nokia is time to say goodbye. Last day but I’m going knowing that we created a legendary phone #N9 and Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia appears to have almost completely buried one of its most popular projects, the MeeGo OS, which landed on shelves inside the highly-appealing Nokia N9 smartphone.”

According to rumours, he has been followed to the exit by a few more members of the team who also announced plans to leave.

However  many of them will continue to work with the platform, moving over to CloudBerryTec, where they will be able to build applications for the OS.

This isn’t the first time the MeeGo project has faced problems. Last year a raft of staff walked out after the company announced plans to adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

And it seems MeeGo has also been abandoned by its partner Intel, which was forced out of the picture after Nokia decided to partner with Microsoft.

A spokesperson for the company refused to comment on the latest walk out, claiming it was “a Nokia story” – suggesting that it wants nothing more to do with the company.

Last year it seemed to be considering a range of options for the flagging system including turning it into an operating system for a car.

Intel shoots MeeGo

Intel has announced that it is changing the name of MeeGo in what a cynic would say is a move to kill off the operating system without anyone noticing.

According to a press statement, Intel has joined Linux Foundation and LiMo Foundation in support of Tizen, a new Linux-based open source software platform for multiple device categories.

The press release said that Tizen builds upon the strengths of both LiMo and MeeGo and Intel will be working with its MeeGo partners on the transition to Tizen.

We will not see Tizen until the beginning of 2012, and the first devices will not be around until the middle of the year.

Tizen will apparently support smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, Netbooks, and in-vehicle infotainment devices using a flexible standards-based HTML5 and WAC Web development. It will all be open source and run by a technical steering team of Intel and Samsung.

Tizen is yet another name change for the OS which started life as Moblin. Moblin was an OS for small devices like netbooks and smartphones. The brand was damaged when Nokia ditched it in favour of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform and when manufacturers started to withdraw support.

The question is why would Chipzilla insist on a name change, again, and force its developers to adapt to a new system? CNET seems to think Intel wants to merge the operating system out of existence.

The logic is that getting rid of Meego is bad PR, and shows a lack of commitment to the developer community. It is better to rename it, so if anyone complains then you can say it is simply renamed. Then when it does not take off, it can be quietly shelved under a less hyped name

We asked Intel what it was doing with Meego a while back and it said that it thought there was life in the OS yet, and it had a cunning plan. 

Intel has plans, hasn't plans to quit MeeGo

Intel is rumoured to be planning a quiet exit, stage left, from supporting MeeGo.

Sources at Digitimes say Intel is planning on quitting the disaster zone that has been the MeeGo OS.  Developers gave the OS eight months to live in July, so it could be well ahead of schedule.

Despite throwing an almighty hooley in a Dublin brewery just last year it appears that the platform has been doomed from the start. Its fanatical supporters will disagree, and point to the consortium which backs MeeGo – though Intel has been a primary source of financial backing.

Nokia appeared to have abondoned the Linux-based OS when it turned to Microsoft’s flock. The Finnish former rubber boot maker jointly kick-started MeeGo to bring the fight to Android and iOS. It demonstrated a MeeGo phone this year, a slick looking device, but industry watchers believe the company was contractually obliged.

In Finland, where MeeGo is popular and nationalist pride can cloud decision making, the open source project was mostly – according to our sources – funded by Intel. The allegiance to Nokia, however, means many supporters have followed it to Microsoft and are expecting great things from Windows 8.

Since Nokia fell swooning into the arms of Microsoft, Intel has seemingly been at a loss about what to do with the OS, its big hope for infiltrating mobile – where it has delayed – left tattered and torn. 

There has been some success sticking the OS in places like cars and other embedded applications, but this is hardly the life that was imagined for MeeGo from the start. It seems that a lack of interest for the platform in phones or tablets has taken its toll.

We asked Intel whether MeeGo has now gone, but it says there is life in the old dog yet:

“We remain committed to MeeGo and open source, and will continue to work with the community to help develop and meet the needs of customers and end users,” Intel told us.

How long Intel keeps the same line remains to be seen.

Nokia on Microsoft takeover: "It's Bollocks"

Nokia thinks rumours of a Microsoft takeover are “bollocks,” a spokesperson said to a roomful of journalists at its headquarters in Espoo. Espoo? Something smells funny, yeah. 

It is still a product company and it insists that it will continue to make handsets. Judging from the reception of its N9, it could well do that. There are reports via recent leak that its first Windows Phone handset looks markedly similar. 

Despite the quietly vocal unhappiness from within its own ranks, Nokia insists that this is a partnership of equals. Nokia says those still curious about the interest from Microsoft and a possibility of a takeover should get their heads examined. “It’s a great story for a conspiracy theorist,” a spokesperson told us. “I can’t debate with conspiracy theorists. They’re tied in with their opinions.”

While it hopes to crack the Western market with its Microsoft phones, the emerging market is a key sector for Nokia. Especially the complex Chinese market where it faces a dual threat from ZTE and Huawei.

China is a “very big market, but we have a hell of a lot of competition,” Blanca Juti told TechEye. “It’s a market where – I’ve seen different cycles – I’ve seen high and low market share and how we regained it back. It’s challenging but we have a very strong brand preference and we are doing well.

“It’s very centred to us in mobile phones. We think about China a lot. We have designers and R&D there, because it’s a market with enormous vibrancy.

“India and China are very, very important.”

Nokia feels its time in India is going well. With the new dual SIM futurephones on the way it thinks it has the market cracked. The next strategic point to reach is a billion customers in data.

“That’s the focus,” Juti said. “A lot of people who have a phone but don’t do data. And there’s a lot of people who don’t yet have a phone. We know that there’s a huge opportunity there and that this is just about to take off.”

“We want to go in those markets and provide pleasing and pleasant access to end users,” she added.

Another area Nokia is looking at is the high growth telecoms and infrastructure scene in African countries. As a company that works closely with operators, will we see bloodied noses in a rush for spectrum allocation and auctioning?

Blanca wouldn’t let on too much. But she did say, “In most markets, it has been highly disruptive.” There’s a space for Nokia because “In Africa, the manufacturers bluff signal strength,” but “Nokia is a principled company.”

*EyeSee Nokia still loves its 2G. There’s a whole room for it.

MeeGo gets sweaty

Here’s an interesting tool from the open operating system, MeeGo, under the bonnet of Nokia’s new N9.

No doubt their function is for the developers, who are getting sweaty around the rear about the prospect of working for a barely supported platform.

“Shouldn’t they wear them somewhere else?” a commenter asked TechEye. No, because that particular spot is solely reserved for the boots of the major leaguers.

[Model: James Cathey. Photographer: Nicole Scott.]

The model wears it when he’s hot and thinks it’s cool beans.

Nokia demonstrates its MeeGo support

Nokia’s going to support MeeGo after all. It’ll bring out one, yes one MeeGo device this year.

Why bother? Some sort of contractual obligation? We don’t know, because when we asked at Nokia HQ this past Friday a PR jumped in to cut the interview short. We certainly got that impression.

Well, not immediately. According to Nokia’s VP for product marketing Ilari Nurmi, “It’s very clear that Windows Phone is our platform. It is very clear.” 

With the sudden u-turn effectively leaving Intel alone in a field it knows very little about, Nokia execs must have caught some flack. We asked Nurmi about Nokia’s relationship with Intel. He told us: “On the Intel front, obviously we have multiple relationships in practice and different roles.

“When we talk about chipsets we have been talking about the fact that with MeeGo, we will bring out a MeeGo device. We know what we are doing today on that particular front.

“We will bring in a MeeGo product into the field this year. We have also said as a development effort, and MeeGo based devices, it’s something we want to learn from. There is good work that is being done on that particular front.

“Hopefully we are able to leverage what we’ve learned from MeeGo.”

But really, is there any point in spending the time and money on releasing a MeeGo device? Or does Nokia have its hands tied? Nurmi tells us that Nokia is releasing a MeeGo device to “learn from it”. That’s that cleared up, then.

“Let’s talk about what’s in the market today,” Nurmi’s PR said, and we were done… 

*EyeSee The rumours are that Nokia will launch the MeeGo product tomorrow at Singapore’s Nokia Connection event. You can expect a bit and a piece about Symbian too. In the words of some other folks at Nokia: “Watch Symbian very carefully on Tuesday.” We’ll keep one eye half open!

*EyeSee Nokia denies plans to make a mint from patents and ditch the products. According to Nurmi and others it’s totally a product company and we’re going to see some future disruptions for certain.

Finland backs Microsoft not MeeGo

What better place to poke our nosey noses around Nokia than its home turf? Here at the Aalto university, talking to local industry watchers and keen developers in an offshoot room of its bustling start-up lodge. 

Well, Nokia’s seedy love-in with domineering MSFT might actually be *good* for Finland. Though worries of straining the relationship between Finland and the States were rife, at least some of the start-up scene thinks it’s a good opportunity to hire top new talent.

Nokia’s dealings with Microsoft were referred to as a change in strategy throughout, which is one way of putting it, and weight wasn’t given to prospects of a positive future for Nokia’s independent future.

On the bright side, the industry is “becoming more mobile despite Nokia’s hardship,” and twice as many companies in Finland will develop for mobile platforms by 2012.

The Finns love Nokia. Somewhat bizarrely, our impression among businesses we’ve talked to so far – and we will be down at Nokia HQ tomorrow to find out more – is that Microsoft has managed to buy itself something priceless. You wouldn’t think you could buy loyalty. But the Finns have let their love of Nokia transfer over to its abusive controller, Microsoft. Not the Stockholm Syndrome. Helsinki syndrome, we guess.

“If Nokia had not adopted Windows Phone we wouldn’t see these figures. If Nokia wasn’t a Finnish company we wouldn’t see these figures,” we hear. That’s talking about Microsoft’s predicted success to become the top three in the smartphone and mobile market, where it will battle off competition from rivals to really be a contender. 

What of poor little MeeGo? Yes, we’ve been ragging on MeeGo a little for a while now. We hope it does well, we really do. Unfortunately for MeeGo, in Finland – the country where it is perceived to have much of its more dedicated support – there are “only a handful of MeeGo developers”.

“They don’t view MeeGo as much of a huge opportunity as the Windows Phone.” This is the view of Aalto University and supported by the Software Industry Survey 2011, not to mention anecdotally from plenty of others.

There is still some hope for the beleaguered software. Some think there are solid opportunities for it in the automotive industry. Then again, everyone else wants in too. 

It’ll spell trouble for Intel which is demonstrating its famous committment to the operating system. Cash backing the product is largely hoisted over from Intel’s coffers, we hear, especially in Finland. But for the Finns, they don’t want to “jump ship from Nokia to Intel”. Not when Nokia’s with Microsoft now. 

MeeGo dump forces Nokia CTO to jump sinking ship

It’s more gloomy news for Nokia this morning with reports that the company’s CTO has resigned.

Nokia said Rich Green had taken a leave of absence, but Finnish newspapers are claiming that he has left for for personal reasons. 

The official line from Nokia is that Mr Green has taken leave for medical reasons, but HS.Fi has quoted some sources who claim he was aghast at the company’s strategy.

Reports suggest Green was miserable about Nokia’s MeeGo dump in favour of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system. Filling his rubber boots is Henry Tirri, who is currently head of Nokia Research.  

Last month Jorma Ollila, the Finnish exec who turned Nokia around, said he’d step down next year, paving the way for the Swingin’ Stephen “Swing Factor” Elop to swing to his heart’s content.

7,000 people have been fired from Nokia while senior staff suggest it’s all a Microsoft coup.

Meanwhile, Texas Instruments lowered its revenue forecast for the second quarter of this year, blaming a lower demand for its products from Nokia.

It didn’t mince its words, saying outright that its low revenue predictions were a direct result of Nokia, which has admitted to lower sales of devices and services and less people buying its phones.  

New projected revenues are now $3.36 billion and $3.50 billion compared to the originally predicted $3.41 billion to $3.69 billion.