The Finnish startup Jolla is all set to release their first ever Sailfish OS handset on November 27th in Finland through the Finnish Cellular operator DNA. Sailfish OS by Jolla (pronounced as Yolla) has been creating a lot of buzz with the Phone enthusiasts because of its uniqueness over iOS and Android.
— Jolla (@JollaHQ) November 14, 2013
The Company announced the same through their Twitter account on the 14th of November 2013. Jolla began as a result of Nokia shelving the Meego project in favour of Windows Phones. The Meego was only seen on the Nokia N9 and most of the world never got a taste of the OS. Most of the Engineers working on the Meego project for Nokia went on out to form their own Company Jolla in order to revive the project and built upon their earlier works. Sailfish offers a colorful and mordern UI built upon the Meego framework and concentrates on the experience. The salient features of the Sailfish are swipe to homescreen for better multitasking, new take on profiles (termed as Ambience), transparency and quick access to applications without lifting a finger from the screen.
Gestures are an important part of the OS. Like the Meego on Nokia N9, you can double tap on the lock screen to unlock the phone. Gestures such as left or right swipe give you immediate access to the home screen where all the minimised apps are tiled. This is also like the BlackBerry 10 OS were bottom to top swipe brings you to the home screen. Since the Nokia N9 launched ahead of the BlackBerry 10, there is no question of Jolla trying to replicate BlackBerry’s idea and is original to the Meego. The Sailfish OS in fact has a better implementation of the tiles on the home screen by allowing to be controlled from the home screen without the need to open the app.
Transparency is crafted within the UI beautifully. Every time you swipe in order to minimise an app and move to the home screen, the app turns transparent on the initiation of the swipe gesture and you can view the home screen immediately. In case the swipe gesture is not completed, the original app remains open and the transparency disappears.
Jolla has an interesting take on the profiles and have named this as “Ambience”. They extend the capability of setting profiles to the look of the and arrangement of the phone. You can move between various preset and customisable Ambience modes such as ‘Party’ or ‘Work’ that not only changes the sounds profile of the device, but also the look and feel of it.
The pull gesture is another major gesture incorporated in the OS that lets you gain quick access to many options such as Phone, Camera or Silent Mode. The phone couples this gesture with haptic feedback that allows you to perform these gestures without actually looking at the phone.
The phones design is not that exciting and looks like a drab rectangular glass slab from the front. Like the BlackBerry Z10 or Z30, the phone does not have any hardware or soft buttons on the front side as all navigation is based on swipe based gestures.
The hardware of the phone do not match up to any of the newer phones on the market and feels dated by at least a year. It is possible that the OS might not require the amount of processing power as the others, but using lesser RAM of only 1 GB is sure to affect the multitasking capabilities, especially when memory heavy games are run on the phones. Further, the 4.5″ IPS qHD 960×540 (245 ppi) display is nothing great to look forward to when most of the phones out there are now Full HD and the rest are at least providing a pixel density of 300+ ppi. The specifications of the phone are:
- Dimensions (mm): 131(h) x 68 (w) x 9.9 (th)
- Weight: 141 g
- Processor: Qualcomm Dual Core 1.4 GHz
- Storage: 16 GB with Micro SD slot
- Memory: 1 GB RAM
- Display: 4.5″ IPS qHD 960×540 (245 ppi)
- Camera: 8 MP rear and 2 MP front
- Battery: 2100 mAh
Hardware and App Compatibility
The Company claims that the OS is compatible with all the current Android Hardware. If the OS gains traction and the Phone manufacturers take interest, many OEMs would surely look forward to releasing dual versions of the Hardware. The Sailfish OS is fully compatible with the Android apps in addition to the Sailfish Native Apps that will provide them the opportunity to have a huge ecosystem, if Jolla manage to play their cards right.
With a price of 399 € that is more than the cost of a Nexus 5, it will be interesting to see if Consumers line up for this phone and are ready to compromise on the hardware to get their hands on the exciting Sailfish OS.