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

conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned
conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned

A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click

Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.

2021 tech fails concept
2021 tech fails concept

The worst technology of 2021

Face filters, billionaires in space, and home-buying algorithms that overpay all made our annual list of technology gone wrong.

glacier near Brown Station
glacier near Brown Station

The radical intervention that might save the “doomsday” glacier

Researchers are exploring whether building massive berms or unfurling underwater curtains could hold back the warm waters degrading ice sheets.

Professor Gang Chen of MIT
Professor Gang Chen of MIT

In a further blow to the China Initiative, prosecutors move to dismiss a high-profile case

MIT professor Gang Chen was one of the most prominent scientists charged under the China Initiative, a Justice Department effort meant to counter economic espionage and national security threats.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration 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.