Former Nokia Employees Demo New Smart Phone Operating System

Nokia dropped the mobile MeeGo operating system like a hot potato when the company decided to hitch its future to the Windows Phone bandwagon, but not everyone in the company agreed with the decision to dump the Linux-based OS. A handful of former Nokia employees formed Jolla to continue working on MeeGo, and today, the team unveiled Sailfish OS, a slick new operating system that represents the fruits of their labor.

KickNetwork’s superb video below has an extensive look at Sailfish in action, which we highly recommend watching. (Jolla released a video of its own, but it’s less informative than the hands-on.) A couple of interesting UI features float to the forefront, however, including an “ambiance” function that can create a custom theme from any image as well as the operating system’s ability to seamlessly swipe an app to the homescreen to use it as a widget.

Sailfish’s Linux-based roots also allow it to run most Android apps with ease, the developers claim.

Jolla took time to announce a few business deals amidst the unveiling. ST-Ericsson will provide chips for the initial batch of Sailfish-based phones, while Finnish carrier DNA pledged to carry Sailfish handsets when they launch. D.Phone, a massive Chinese retailer, has also agreed to carry Sailfish devices in its 2,000-plus stores. The developers say more manufacturer support is forthcoming.

The operating system’s actual launch date is still up in the air, however, though Jolla hopes to deliver handsets into people’s hands in the second quarter of next year. Is there room for another operating system in the crowded smartphone market? That remains to be seen, but considering Jolla’s lean size, it won’t need to move nearly as many units as RIM or Microsoft to be a successful endeavor.