The First Jolla Smartphone: Quirky And Android-Friendly

When a band of engineers fled Nokia in 2012 to develop a MeeGo-derived OS called Sailfish, they needed a vehicle to carry the software. And this is it: the first Jolla phone, which is as quirky as the OS it runs.

Featuring a 4.5-inch display, dual-core processor, 8MP camera, 4G, 16GB of onboard storage and a microSD slot, its most obvious physical feature is the contrasting removable back cover. The phone recognises which cover is attached and changes its coloured theming to match, but the subtly different shaping of the two parts is what actually makes it interesting from a design perspective. (Check the picture above close-up to see what we mean.)

Jolla claims the handset will be "compliant" with Android apps, although the phone runs its own Sailfish OS. That's based on MeeGo, which originally powered the Nokia N9, and it's not clear how well the Android integration will work — how many apps will be supported, and how well they'll work, for instance — let alone where the apps will be downloaded from. But, hey, let's give 'em chance to prove themselves.

Initially launching in a handful of European countries, Jolla will roll out the handset more widely in the near future. It looks set to cost around $US500. [Jolla via The Verge]



    Someone will have to explain this to me, because I'm clearly missing something here. It's an OS that runs Android apps, but can't be guaranteed to run all of them properly because of a lack of support and integration due to the fact it's not actually Android. So why not just buy an Android phone?

    At first glance the specs aren't amazing, the design (IMHO) is so-so, the back plate is a bit gimmicky and the price isn't cheap. It's also a new OS with an extremely limited developer base and (I'm expecting) limited resources to provide incentives to developers, unlike Windows Phone. If it's purely for the OS, I'd have thought that much of the design and interface could have been achieved with a custom Android ROM.

    The vid on their site tries to tell us that Jolla is 'a movement, join the tribe'. I'm sorry, but you'll have to do better than that to get my hard earned dollar.

      The developer base for native apps should be quite large since existing QT / QML apps that run on Symbian and the N9 'should' be able to be put on it with almost zero effort.
      I haven't checked that out yet though.
      Plus Meego as a platform is higher performance than Android, but the Android part of the Meego thing could be hit and miss.

        Thanks, that goes a little way towards explaining it. Still not for me, but more competition can never be a bad thing!

    and we need a removable cover why? good luck to them as competition breeds innovation but....yeah, not sure if this will find a big enough following to guarantee future models.

    The (partial?) Android compatibility is a side issue IMHO. If the Jolla is like the n900 (Nokia's Mego LINUX phone) then we'll have literally thousands of Debian Linux programs to run on it. I still have an n900 sitting on my shelf with Open Office running on it. (The lack of Telstra 4G support in Australia made me switch to the Nokia E7.) Also the N900's keyboard was a little small as was its screen.

    A Jolla with a slide out keyboard would really rock and would allow users to truely replace their desktops and laptops with their phones. Imagine a full fledged Office Suite--not a stripped down one running on your phone. And full-fledged desktop video editing such as OpenShot. A truely unlocked smartphone would be a paradigm changer.

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