Jolla adds new features to Sailfish, plots global expansion and agrees Angry Birds deal
Finnish smartphone manufacturer Jolla says its open source Sailfish OS has reached version 1.0 and that it is preparing for a full commercial launch of its first smartphone ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next week.
Version 1.0 of Sailfish will be released next month, and the firm will also make the operating system available to download on certain Android handsets later this year. Until that happens, an app launcher which simulates the OS will be available on Android marketplace.
“We’re very excited to announce this. We’ve been working hard together with our user community to make the user experience of the Jolla smartphone and Sailfish OS effortless and distinct,” says Marc Dillon, co-founder and COO of Jolla. “We believe that Jolla now offers a truly viable option for all smartphone users.”
Jolla, which was formed by former Nokia employees who wanted to continue developing the open source MeeGo platform, released the eponymous smartphone in Finland last November and has been accepting pre-orders from European countries since last year. It now plans to expand its operations and enter new markets, including Russia, India and Hong Kong.
The company has released monthly updates for Sailfish since its launch, and says this will continue thanks to the support of its development community. Version 1.0, the fourth update, will bring improved performance, extended landscape support, visual improvements and new camera functionalities.
Sailfish is also compatible with Android applications and Jolla open sourced the first internal application, its browser, earlier this month. Dillon is full of praise for Jolla’s development community and says it results in a thriving app ecosystem.
“Customers are now able to install their preferred Android app store, and choose from hundreds of thousands of available Android applications,” says Dillon. “In addition, the active and passionate Sailfish OS community has already developed major social media applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, and Foursquare, natively to the Sailfish OS.”
This community has also got Sailfish working on a number of Android devices, including major versions of Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus and Sony Xperia smartphones, while it is also working on bringing the platform to phones made by Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi.
“We see this as a huge volume opportunity for Sailfish OS as there are close to a billion Android users globally,” adds Antti Saarnio, chairman of the board of Jolla. “Many of them are looking for new user experiences to freshen up their existing devices. Last year in China alone, about 100 million devices were re-flashed after the purchase with a new operating system.
“This approach allows Sailfish OS to scale into volume fast without limitations. This is a scaling opportunity in a similar way as we have seen in the mobile gaming industry recently.”
Speaking of mobile gaming, Jolla has also agreed a partnership with Finnish developer Rovio to produce Angry Birds themed smart covers, and has also entered into a deal with F-Secure to provide cloud storage to users.
Sailfish OS is one of a number of open source mobile operating systems looking to make an impact on the smartphone market. Firefox OS, Tizen and Ubuntu Mobile are all at various stages of development, hoping to offer an alternative to the likes of Android, iOS and Windows Phone.