Jolla Mobile CEO Jussi Hurmola said today in an interview with GigaOM that the Helsinki-based startup plans to release their first handset running the MeeGo OS by the end of this year.

It makes sense that Jolla, which was founded by two ex-Nokia employees, would be using MeeGo as their operating system of choice, as it was originally developed by Nokia in a partnership with Intel. After Nokia announced a different partnership with Microsoft to use the Windows Phone OS, they dropped MeeGo.

While Nokia might have been ready to let go of MeeGo, not everyone else was. Since MeeGo is Linux-based and many of its components are open source, the community decided to carry on with MeeGo. When Marck Dillon and Jussi Hurmola left Nokia and decided to start their own company, they went with MeeGo as well.

When we first took a look at Jolla’s plans last month, they seemed to be pretty ambitious, particularly the ability to run Android apps in addition to MeeGo’s own native apps. Immediately afterward, Jolla seemed to disappear from the headlines, only to resurface with today’s interview. In the interview, though Hurmola talked of Android in terms of competition, no talk of app compatibility was mentioned.

There was talk of cross-platform technologies such as HTML5 and Marmalade, but all focused on allowing developers to create apps for MeeGo. Any talk of actually running apps developed for Android on a MeeGo-powered phone was notably absent.

Hurmola said that what Jolla is focusing most on at the moment is setting up an ecosystem, saying “You can’t do a smartphone without supporting developers, services, navigation — we are setting all that up.”

We shouldn’t have to wait too long to see what Jolla Mobile is up to. Hurmola says in the interview that Jolla will be announcing its first handset this year. When they announce the phone, they will also announce when it will be available.

With all the companies that are planning to release alternatives to Android, do you think there is room for any one of them to succeed? Should Google be worried?