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MeeGo Startup Jolla Signs Phone Deal 63

Posted by Soulskill
from the progress-is-progress dept.
chill writes "Mobile company Jolla, which is continuing development of Linux-based mobile OS Meego, signed its first sales deal today, with D.Phone, China's largest smartphone retail chain. Jolla has not released details about its first product, which is expected to be revealed later this year. The company has not yet received access to any Nokia patents."
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MeeGo Startup Jolla Signs Phone Deal

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  • When they decide to put countries like China on the backburner and start making things like this available in more conventional markets, this might be an improvement. Otherwise, it's just the N9 situation all over again.

    • by the plant doctor (842044) on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:33PM (#40668527)

      If you're a startup I don't see how it's a mistake. From TFA: "China was selected because it is the largest, most rapidly expanding smartphone market in the world, according to Jolla Chairman Antti Saarnio." This seems like a logical first step to me. Get established there first, then move on to more expensive markets once you are established.

      • When it is made for the First World markets first - the quality does not decrease and it generally does well. These phones are made with the First World audience in mind.

        When it is made with the Third World in mind, quality suffers. What the First World gets is largely a defective product with no thought or attention to the First World user aside from the poor quality translation of a manual in GB2312.

        • by YoopDaDum (1998474) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:38AM (#40670979)
          China is a very big and diverse country, and going China doesn't necessarily mean going low cost nowadays. Costal China is first world (or close enough already, in any case not 3rd world by far), with a very high adoption rate for smartphones. And not crappy ones, also high end ones. Plus, Android is impaired in China by no official Google Play support if I understand correctly, and side channels are full of malware making Android reputation poor. The iPhone doesn't support TD-SCDMA so is not carried by the first operator, China Mobile. WP is mostly nowhere (as everywhere). There is a gap to fill there, and if you come with a new OS it may be easier to get a foothold in such a context than in Western countries with entrenched iPhone and Android, and only a few slahsdotters like me possibly interested in a Meego phone ;) Historically China Mobile was interested in Meego for this reason BTW. And Nokia was very popular there. So there could be a card to play for a well spec'd phone in China, seen as a successor to the old Nokia.
          • by sethstorm (512897)

            China is a very big and diverse country, and going China doesn't necessarily mean going low cost nowadays. Costal China is first world (or close enough already, in any case not 3rd world by far), with a very high adoption rate for smartphones

            Yet the products seem to fail to hold up to that standard save for the few (and large) exceptions.

            And not crappy ones, also high end ones. Plus, Android is impaired in China by no official Google Play support if I understand correctly, and side channels are full of malware making Android reputation poor. The iPhone doesn't support TD-SCDMA so is not carried by the first operator, China Mobile. WP is mostly nowhere (as everywhere). There is a gap to fill there, and if you come with a new OS it may be easier to get a foothold in such a context than in Western countries with entrenched iPhone and Android

            Even with the region hobbling of the N9 to intentionally kill sales of the product, it did better than the Windows Mobile phones by a wide margin.
            Until Nokia was introduced to the Trojan Horse that Elop brought in, they had a viable alternative - the Maemo/Meego platform.

        • In the sense that the iPhone came from the idea that a 'rich American' can afford a phone which includes both consumer features like picture sharing and music together with 'corporate' features like email and security and is willing to pay for all of them in one package, I think you are right. However, Microsoft has designed for the first world and that is the source of many of it's Windows Phone's fundamental failings [phonearena.com]. Problems like lack of Bluetooth file tranfer come from an assumption you always have a

      • Because they are 2 separate markets. Has there really been anything that has started in China and made it big in Europe/North America? I really can't think of anything. Sure, there's been stuff that's been Korean and Japanese and sold quite well, but the Japanese and Korean markets are much different than the Chinese market.

        I don't think it's its an accident that we drive Toyotas and not Cherys. Nor why we go on Facebook and not Renren.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by alantus (882150)

          Has there really been anything that has started in China and made it big in Europe/North America? I really can't think of anything. Sure, there's been stuff that's been Korean and Japanese and sold quite well, but the Japanese and Korean markets are much different than the Chinese market.

          They might not be as successful as their Japanese counterparts, but from the top of my head Huawei, Lenovo and Haier are chinese.

          Some time ago Japan was today's China, they were just copying and improving upon others designs, and they were regarded as lower quality products. Now they are leading in the automobile industry, electronics, and pretty much everything.

          I think the same kind of evolution is possible in China in the next few years. The only thing they are lacking is the ethics and values, but mayb

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dbIII (701233)
            Look back to the USA of Edison's day and you'll see how ethics and values were rarely allowed to get in the way of a sale.
          • by sethstorm (512897)

            Lenovo was the division of a US company allowed to make the mistake - of national security - of selling to the Chinese government. That can't really be called Chinese.

            I think the same kind of evolution is possible in China in the next few years. The only thing they are lacking is the ethics and values, but maybe its not necessary.

            The only kind of evolution is in how they steal technology from the First World or to punish their own. Everything else is stolen.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              China takes all open technology and gets the production costs lower and the volume up. This is not stealing, it is innovation in the production-part of the economy. Without the innovation at the plants producing stuff, there will be no ways of getting the volume up and the prices lower. That China makes stuff generic really fast, is really good for innovation. China is a part of an ecosystem. It's not only the heads of corporations, or the R&D departments that innovate. All the parts of the supplier-cha

        • by Anonymous Coward

          ... Has there really been anything that has started in China and made it big in Europe/North America?

          OK, How about silk, paper, gun powder, fireworks and bazillion other things chinese had ages before west heard of them?

          • ... Has there really been anything that has started in China and made it big in Europe/North America?

            OK, How about silk, paper, gun powder, fireworks and bazillion other things chinese had ages before west heard of them?

            You gotta love the Chinese. They had gunpowder long before anyone else, and what did they do? Conquer the world? Nope, they invented fireworks and had lot of fun.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        If you're a startup I don't see how it's a mistake. From TFA: "China was selected because it is the largest, most rapidly expanding smartphone market in the world, according to Jolla Chairman Antti Saarnio." This seems like a logical first step to me. Get established there first, then move on to more expensive markets once you are established.

        Supplementary: if Nokia decides to use their patent war chest to attack it, they'll still have the Chinese market (which is also the producing one, thus wouldn't care too much about Nokia's patent). If they start in the Western world, they'd be hang high and dry in no time if a patent war is started against them.

      • by SurfsUp (11523) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @01:55AM (#40669893)

        The China-first strategy seems brilliant to me. Far more price sensitive, which plays to their strength.

        • Given that the patent & regulatory issues are already being accounted for, there's no blocking issue unique to the US.

          This will end up being some sort of piece of relabeled junk with a poorly translated manual for being targeted to China first. With a First World focus, it would be a product more in line with the wants of the First World - the only market that matters.

    • Exactly. The problem with Nokia is ever since they've been making decent phones there's no easy way to get them. When most people go shopping for a phone, they don't go online to buy a phone and then get the SIM card, they go to AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or the T-Mobile store and get the phone there on contract. If your phone isn't in there, its not going to sell in the US plain and simple. The last time I was in one of those stores, I found exactly 1 Nokia phone and it was a Lumia.
    • by nzac (1822298) on Monday July 16, 2012 @10:13PM (#40668729)

      They don't have the patents to release it in the US or most of the rest of the First World.

      Companies with key patents to smart phones can't even avoid import bans and I would bet they infringe on a lot Nokia patents that they developed.

      The N9 did not get into the US because MS did not want it beating their OS.

    • by Compaqt (1758360)

      The problem with Nokia in the US was they failed to engage the carriers, which, unfortunately, is a requirement to sell phones in the backwards US phone market.

      Moreover, "improvement" for you, or for Jolla. They're in this to make money. If they can sell in the largest market in the world, why would they care about a monopolistic/oligopolistic market like the US?

      They're trying to do new and cool stuff, not necessarily the same as what American Telephone & Telegraph wants.

    • by GNious (953874)

      Not understanding your comment about the N9 - only place I know of anyone having bought it is the USA; What was the mistake you're refering to?

  • cutting edge HW (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:13PM (#40668409)

    Hopefully they'll have a model with modern hardware specs, matching the the best Android and Apple phones.

    If their best model sports some 320x400 resolution and 3 generation old graphics hardware, it'll be a non-starter with a lot of ppl. If it can compete toe to toe, then I'll consider buying one. Let's say something comparable to the Galaxy S3: 1280x720 pixel screen, one microSD slot, a modern GPU, multi-touch, good GPS, and so on. Be actually competitive, and I'll give it a shot. Ship 3 gen old hardware, and sorry, no dice.

    • Unlike the First-World focused N900 and N9, hardware will be cut down to appease the Third World market - and be a non-starter with the real target market, the First World.

      • I dunno. It seems that First World countries are hell-bent on becoming Third World countries, as fast as they can. All the stuff sold in First World countries is made in Third World countries anyway. All the crappy stuff made in Third World countries gets sold in Walmarts. Companies sell the same quality stuff in both First World and Third World countries . . . but they charge a lot more for it in First World countries, because the consumers there have more money and are willing to pay the higher price.

        • As a N770, N810 Wimax, and N900 owner(twice over), this would be a step down from the N9. Even the N9 itself is a large step down from the do-everything-go-anywhere N900 that represented the peak of what Nokia did with that platform. Despite that, that is what you get when you have a First World focus on hardware design.

          Given that there is an existing tablet that has gone down this road(Zenithink C71) and uses cut-down hardware, there is precedent. That is the class of hardware that Jolla will come up wi

    • But... why? What would you do with that kind of hardware? There are almost NO APPS on that platform.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      But maybe you are not the target...
    • I can't see it happening this way. Nokia wouldn't have developed the graphics drivers itself but received them from the GPU manufacturer (due to the presence of HD protection keys these would have been delivered in binary form only), the baseband code is likely to be full of Nokia's IP and thus would have to be done by someone else (Nokia sold its modem team to Renesas before Symbian got axed) and will probably be of iffy quality. I'm not sure these Meego guys will have access to the radio testing rooms as
  • Nokia (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WiiVault (1039946) on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:34PM (#40668533)
    I'm a little out of the loop on MeeGo development, but with the recent patent trolling and Microsoft loving from Nokia what makes Jolla think that even previous MeeGo agreements will be honored? If they are even enforceable Nokia has chosen a side in the free vs non-free, and just like any sinking ship honesty and goodwill are the first to go. It's not like a major corporation has ever crushed a smaller one just to be mean... Elop is did learn from the best on that one.
    • Re:Nokia (Score:4, Funny)

      by c0lo (1497653) on Monday July 16, 2012 @10:58PM (#40668969)

      I'm a little out of the loop on MeeGo development, but with the recent patent trolling and Microsoft loving from Nokia what makes Jolla think that even previous MeeGo agreements will be honored? If they are even enforceable Nokia has chosen a side in the free vs non-free, and just like any sinking ship honesty and goodwill are the first to go. It's not like a major corporation has ever crushed a smaller one just to be mean... Elop is did learn from the best on that one.

      This would probably explain why they decided to go on the Chinese market at first.

  • Now that Meego isn't beholden to corporate constraints on technology used, is there any plan to go back to the deb packaging system used in Maemo or are the developers sticking with rpm? It would probably be nice for developers if the phone ran a Meego user interface on top of a standard debian core.

    • by nzac (1822298)

      Assuming for a second you are not trolling: They would both do the job but in no measurable way are debs better than rpms.
      No one is ever able to provide info on why debs are better than rpms as far as i tell what you want is the Debian repos which is good because of the effort that goes into them rather than the package format.

      I would like it if it used what i currently has where the package management system is very similar to openSUSE's. Its yum not rpms that suck.

      I know this is ancient and some of it has

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Currently, Jolla has stated plans [twitter.com] to use a MeeGo derivative called Mer Project (http://merproject.org/) which uses RPM [twitter.com]. This makes sense because MeeGo proper is still encumbered by an untold number of Nokia and Intel patents that have yet to be unraveled, and the former core MeeGo team has stated that the Harmattan user interface is all Nokia and can't form the basis for Jolla's MeeGo-based platform. It should be also be noted that MeeGo/Mer Project does not feature any user interface of its own, it's just

      • While it may feature no user interface of its own, since Mer is Qt based and so is the KDE family of user interfaces, this phone could use Plasma Active or a mobile version of Razor-qt as its interface
    • Mer inherits its infrastructure from Meego, so is rpm based.

      Being free software, nothing is stopping the community from repackaging the software, submitting them to the debian repositories and creating phone boot images.

  • Invented by Jar-Jar?

    • by SurfsUp (11523)

      Probably doesn't matter in China, but they need a better name all the same. I don't doubt one will land presently. Remember, the Meego name came from a bunch of Nokia and Intel marketdroids. I doubt they have any love for it, other than as a way to identify their particular technology base so people don't think they're totally whacked.

  • As an N9 owner it's been a shame to see a great phone not achieve it's potential. I wish them luck, but I can't get excited about this just yet. Without the N9's excellent swipe UI MeeGo could just turn out to be yet another plain phone. The swipe UI, which seems to be what a lot of people seem to be mistaking for "MeeGo" is actually Nokia's own proprietary UI. The N9 is not straight pure MeeGo, any future products are unlikely to resemble the N9.

    Unfortunately I can't help but be reminded of the Amiga's dyi

  • The world doesn't need another mobile OS, it doesn't matter how good it is.. and by all account MeeGo is pretty good. iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS, WebOS, Bada, Tizen, Symbian, OPhone, Firefox OS.. the list goes on and on. Apart from the Google/Apple duopoly, everyone else is jus fighting over scraps..
    • The world doesn't need another mobile OS, it doesn't matter how good it is..

      Why not? I've heard that statement before and I don't think I entirely go along with it. Is it because those other players don't stand a chance against the current evil empire? If a new mobile OS can do something better than the existing ones then why wouldn't you want it. The world benefits from someone introducing a disruptive new technology. That's true for more than just mobile phones.

    • WP has crappy multitasking, and all your data are belong to Microsoft.

      With IOS all your data are belong to Apple. And everything is controller by Apple.

      With Android all your data are belong to Google, and performance is bad.

      With Symbian the user owns his data, but performance is bad, sw development is really pain, and UI is bad. RIP.

      What is needed is operating system that allows the user to own his data, has good performance, and allows the user to use the device the way he wants.
      Meego/Mer gives this.

      • The Nokia N9 (MeeGo based) scores well on those points. That's why people are trying to give MeeGo a 2nd chance even though Nokia gave MeeGo a death sentence.

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