Skip to Content

Severed from Nokia, Ex-Employees Launch Bifurcated Smartphone

Jolla Mobile, formed by Nokia refugees, launches a phone with interchangable back panels and the Sailfish OS.

Almost one year after Nokia’s bloodletting, in which it cut 10,000 jobs and closed research and manufacturing facilities (see “Nokia Forced to Take Drastic Measures”), we’re starting to see new fruits of the startup culture that rose from the wreckage.

Jolla Mobile's New Phone

TodayᅠJolla Mobile, a Helsinki startup led by former Nokia employees, launched a smartphone whose major distinguishing feature is that breaks in half like an Oreo. The front side holds the usual computing guts and the screen. The back panel can bereplaced new ones reprogram the phone for different roles (such as business versus personal) or to add a wireless charging pad. The company is counting on app writers to think up new uses for the back-panel swap-out. It can change “colors, fonts, tones, profiles, functionalities all will adapt just as you wish by simply uniting the halves,” the company says.

Nokia had cut 3,700 jobs in Finland but helped ex-employees launch at least 200 startups, including Jolla Mobile. The phone runs on an all-new operating system called Sailfish, an evolved version of Nokia’s original mobile OS, MeeGo. (MeeGo was shelved after Nokia embraced Microsoft and its Windows Phone operating system.).ᅠBut Sailfish bears some similarities to Windows Phone, including square panels on the home screen that show applications such as news, weather, or e-mail. You can see more here.

Last year the prime minister, Jyrki Katainen, said such startups are a “lifeline to the future” for Finland. Of course, for Jolla Mobile to fulfill that promise, it will need the usual things to get off the ground, such as interesting new apps.ᅠAnd customers. If enough of the latter sign up, the company might start manufacturing the phone later this year, and selling it for close to $500.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks

One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.

Technology that lets us “speak” to our dead relatives has arrived. Are we ready?

Digital clones of the people we love could forever change how we grieve.

How to befriend a crow

I watched a bunch of crows on TikTok and now I'm trying to connect with some local birds.

Starlink signals can be reverse-engineered to work like GPS—whether SpaceX likes it or not

Elon said no thanks to using his mega-constellation for navigation. Researchers went ahead anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.