A group of former Nokia employees has formed a company with the goal of bringing to market a smartphone powered by software discarded by their former employer.

The Finnish startup Jolla plans to base its handsets on the defunct Meego operating system, which was developed in partnership with Intel but was essentially left for dead when Nokia opted to drop investment in the platform and move to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform.

The company will be led by Chief Operating Officer Marc Dillon, who served worked for almost 11 years, most recently as its principal engineer for Meego.

The company said in a statement:
The Jolla team is formed by directors and core professionals from Nokia’s MeeGo N9 organisation, together with some of the best minds working on MeeGo in the communities.

Nokia created something wonderful – the world’s best smartphone product. It deserves to be continued, and we will do that together with all the bright and gifted people contributing to the MeeGo success story.

Together with international investors and partners, Jolla Ltd. will design, develop and sell new MeeGo based smartphones. The Jolla team consists of a substantial number of MeeGo’s core engineers and directors, and is aggressively hiring the top MeeGo talent to contribute to the next generation smartphone production.

The free, Linux-based OS was designed primarily for mobile devices such as Netbooks and tablet computers. Nokia built one Meego smartphone, which was critically praised but was little more than a one-off experiment.