Jolla, the Finland based company that developed the Sailfish operating system has stated they wish to see the operating system being installed on Android smartphone devices now being used. The company further stated Sailfish is compliant with Android apps which should provide the impetus for individuals to port Sailfish on their devices, which again, as per the Company CEO Tomi Pienimäki is fairly easy to accomplish.
Jolla as a company came into being only in 2011 and was set up by a group of ex-Nokia employees with the aim of further developing the MeeGo mobile software that Nokia has been working on before switching over to Windows full time. It’s good to see all of the efforts that has gone into the development of the MeeGo mobile platform not going to waste and has culminated into what has come to be known as the Sailfish. However, with Jolla yet to strike deals with existing smartphone makers into developing a device based on Sailfish, the best way for the operating system to be provided mass proliferation is to allow it to be ported on existing Android hardware dotting the world mobile landscape.
However, Sailfish right now is only available developed for use in a smartphone device though the company behind it has stated they wish to see the platform transcend to other areas of computing as well. This should include tablet devices though not specifically mention by Jolla; neither do we know when the platform could be seen invading the tablet scene.
Meanwhile, the company has just come up with its own hardware running the Sailfish OS. The device was handed out to 450 people who had pre-ordered the device. Zdnet’s Jo Best got to spend some time with the new device running the new OS and came out with mixed feelings. The OS does seem to hold a lot of promise though there also are just too many bugs and other deficiencies out there for the OS to be deemed as half baked as of now. Understandably, app store is still in the early stages of its development while the apps too seem to be not yet ready for prime time action.
However, the platform itself comes with some inherent qualities though it can be a topic of debate if those can be termed positive or otherwise. For instance the OS requires few tabs to be operated while there isn’t a back button either. The latter can be sorely missed if someone ends up in a situation that wasn’t intended and needs to back out. Also, the home screen houses a set of icons along the top left which intimates the user of any notifications such as missed calls or unread messages. However, none of these can be reached directly from the home screen and the user will have to navigate further to attend to these. A few tabs saved in the home screen but several more needed in the end.
However, a positive aspect of the OS is the ‘peek’ functionality that it provides which allows the user to swipe up from the bottom to keep themselves abreast of any recent notifications. This can be invoked even while working on any app while lifting the thumb will let go of the notification zone.
Also, another interesting aspect of the smartphone Jolla has come up with is the interchangeable ‘other half’ casing that can be snapped on to the set. However, it’s far from being of just cosmetic value to the user even though it’s going to be available in several exciting color options. Instead, they can also be used to add specific or distinct functionality to the device using NFC. Jolla believes the concept can be picked up by third party players such as an ‘other half’ inspired by a football team or a particular company for their employees and so on. These in turn will add the desired ‘look and feel’ to the device.
However, what can be said in the end is that both the hardware as well as the platform still needs some serious polishing efforts to make them shine in the already crowded smartphone segment. The hardware costs a quite high $399 while fielding mid-range specs and a below average camera while the Sailfish still needs more work to make it look and feel sophisticated.