Jolla, the company continuing work on the Linux-based MeeGo smartphone platform that was abandoned by Nokia, has signed its first contract.
The sales and distribution deal is with a Chinese retail chain called the D.Phone Group, according to a statement published by a Finnish blog called Androidistica. Jolla is based in Finland, being comprised of former Nokia employees.
"China has the largest and most rapidly expanding smartphone market in the world," Jolla chairman Antti Saarnio said in the statement. "This agreement with D.Phone is a major step in Jolla's journey towards becoming a significant player in the global smartphone market."
Meanwhile, D.Phone chief Donghai Liu said the aim was to "reach significant sales volume" with Jolla's "fresh and unique user experience". D.Phone has more than 2,000 stores, apparently making it China's "largest chain retailer of mobile phones and accessories".
MeeGo, which succeeded Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo platforms, only made it onto one retail phone, the Nokia N9. However, by the time of that release, future development of MeeGo had already been sidelined as a result of Nokia's Windows Phone tie-in with Microsoft.
The N9 was very well-received by critics, but Nokia downplayed both its marketing and the fact that it ran MeeGo. The hardware design went on to be more-or-less recycled for Nokia's first Windows Phone, the Lumia 800.
Nokia provided an update to MeeGo earlier this month, but the team that had been working on the OS left at the same time.