Russia Looks To Build National Mobile OS

Russian flag © esfera Shutterstock 2012

Will be based on Jolla’s Sailfish software

Russia will soon get its own national mobile operating system, according to a government announcement today.

Russian minister of communications Nikolai Nikiforov revealed plans for the country to build its own operating system based on Jolla’s open-source Sailfish platform.

The announcement is seen as part of continuing efforts by Russia to reduce their reliance on Western technology, as around 95 percent of smartphones in the country use foreign software such as iOS and Android.

Jolla Sailfish MWC 2014 (1)Open source?

At first glance, this seems an odd choice, as Sailfish is produced by a Finnish firm, but Nikiforov is keen to lessen the chance of foreign surveillance on Russian citizens, and hopes to have around half of the country’s mobile devices running the new software by the end of the decade.

The country is also keen to foster technological independence following the imposition of sanctions over its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Plans are apparently already underway, with Jolla staff meeting with members of the Russian technology community earlier this month to break ground on the new software.

Nikiforov said the software’s success will depend on how well it’s received by end users and device makers in the country. Russia has already begun paying local developers to migrate their popular apps to Sailfish.

Formed by former Nokia employees who wanted to continue developing the open source MeeGo platform, Jolla announced Sailfish 2.0 at Mobile World Congress back in March alongside an eponymous tablet device aimed at those looking for a break from Google’s Android platform.

Set to go on sale later this year, both the tablet and Sailfish 2.0 add support for Intel processors, such as the Atom X3, refreshes the user interface, improves multitasking and Android app compatibility.

How much do you know about Linux? Take our quiz!