A new phone OS based on the work Nokia abandoned on its Linux-based mobile OS has been unveiled in Helsinki. Jolla is a start-up run by former Nokia staffers devised to build on the old MeeGo project, which is now called Mer. The Sailfish OS is Mer with proprietary elements: a new user interface.
Jolla has an agreement with Chinese retailer D.Phone, China's equivalent to Carphone Warehouse. The start-up inherited no IP whatsoever from Nokia, and the UI is completely new. The backing comes from China which sees a lot of potential in an Android alternative.
It's fully Qt-based, and the software was demonstrated on the Novathor chips which Nokia will use in future phones - Novathor is a partnership between STMicro and Ericsson. Developers can find out more here.
Intel, Samsung and the Linux Foundation tried to keep MeeGo going as the Tizen project, leaving the UI for licensees to devise, but it has yet to bear any fruit.
You can read the sorry story of MeeGo here. Nokia had bravely nurtured a rich mobile Linux for years. The first MeeGo device appeared in 2005, and in 2009, Nokia publicly annointed it as the future of its smartphone development. A partnership with Intel delayed it further, when Intel insisted it merge with its own poorly focused Moblin Linux. Nokia couldn't agree on a decent UI - which in 2010 may have stemmed the rush to Android.
The third attempt at a UI (hurriedly knocked together) was what finally appeared - and it was well received. But Android already had a head of steam, and when Nokia tried to license MeeGo, nobody wanted to know. A newly instated Stephen Elop cancelled most of Nokia's remaining planned MeeGo phones in 2011, culminating with the N9.
Strangely, you can't tell the battery life or phone signal just by looking at the device. Just like Windows Phone. ®