Ahoy there

Jolla’s indie mobile OS leaves port

This time last year, mobile operating system Sailfish OS was nothing but a glossy promo video. The difference 12 months can make – today, the first 450 devices were shipped by Finnish parent company Jolla at a extravagant launch party.

Jolla’s origins lie in Nokia’s ill-fated MeeGo platform, a smartphone operating system developed by Nokia but only ever shipped on a single device, the Nokia N9. Sailfish OS apps are built with another Nokia cast-off, the Qt framework, but thanks to its Linux underpinnings can run “many” Android apps with no changes.

The first device to ship with Sailfish OS is also named Jolla, and features a 4.5" display, 8MP camera, 16GB storage, 1GB RAM and a MicroSD slot – retailing for €399 ($542). Just 450 Jolla phones were available at the launch event on Wednesday evening, with the total number of preorders still strictly under wraps.

Jolla says it wants its own-brand smartphones to serve as a showcase Sailfish OS, not unlike Google’s Nexus devices. However, the (as yet unlicensed) open source code will be available to other manufacturers if they so wish. For this initial phone, Jolla has paired with major Finnish network DNA.

Sailfish OS is not the only independent mobile operating system attempting to break Android’s dominance. Mozilla are attempting to create a web-centric mobile OS in the form of Firefox OS; Canonical are porting popular Linux distribution Ubuntu to phones; and Samsung is investing heavily in another MeeGo spinoff called Tizen.

With offices based out of both Finland and Hong Kong, Jolla clearly have their eyes on the world. Whether the Finnish enthusiasm is shared elsewhere, though, is yet to be seen.

Elliot Bentley

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