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MWC 2017: Jolla Sailfish Arrives On Sony Xperia & Will Be Used To Create Chinese Mobile OS

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Jolla’s Sailfish OS will be able to run on Xperia smartphones and will form the basis of a national mobile OS for China

Jolla has made progress on two key objectives by bringing its Sailfish OS to Sony Xperia smartphones and creating a consortium that will build a national mobile operating system for China based on the platform. 

The Finnish company has released its own smartphone, also called Jolla, running Sailfish but has always intended to offer it to other manufacturers. The first of these, the Intex Aqua Fish, made its debut in July last year. 

But now owners of Sony’s mobile devices will be able to run Sailfish on their device through the sony Open Devices Program, Jolla confirmed at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, where it is showing an Xperia X with the software installed. 

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Jolla Sailfish Sony Xperia

Jolla Xperia X 

“Sony Mobile is trusted worldwide for its premium brand and quality, and we believe that Xperia devices are a perfect fit for many Sailfish OS customers and community members around the world,” declared Sami Pienimäki.  

“We are thrilled to start this exploration together with Sony Mobile to provide our licensing customers with a solid hardware solution, and to offer our community a follow-up device for the Jolla C launched last year.” 

“We support innovation and development on our open-source platform,” added Karl-Johan Dahlström, director of the Sony Developer Program. “The overall aim of Sony’s Open Devices program is to build the strongest possible ecosystem of unique software experiences for advanced users and developers – and collaborating with Jolla will only serve to further strengthen that offering.” 

Meanwhile the Sailfish China Consortium has gained the exclusive rights and licence to develop a Chinese operating system based on Sailfish. Russia is also using Sailfish to build a national mobile OS in a bid to reduce its reliance on Western technology and reduce the risk of foreign surveillance. 

Jolla claimed that there have been many attempts to build a national OS on Android but these had been unsuccessful because of Google’s control over the code. 

“China needs an own independent mobile operating system,” explained Shan Li, a leading investor in the consortium. “I have been closely following Sailfish OS development, and seen many Chinese projects fail, while Jolla’s Sailfish OS has been steadily progressing. Sailfish OS is the only viable alternative for China. There are already several major Chinese companies interested to join this consortium.” 

Sailfish is based on the Meego platform abandoned by Nokia when its devices business was acquired by Microsoft for £4.6 billion in 2013. However Jolla has had a turbulent 18 months or so and its future was in doubt until it secured fresh investment. 

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