Sailfish is Finnish company Jolla's version of Nokia's MeeGo mobile OS and it looks like the bastard child of Android and Windows Phone. Will it succeed? By I.D. Scales.
There is a satisfying arc so far to the Jolla story. Theme: passionate techies and managers thwarted by short-sighted 'big company' management.
Plot: acclaimed mobile OS project abandoned; execs adopt project and vow to develop it themselves; big company appears to falter under its new OS strategy; first Sailfish phone launched and Jolla becomes a rip-roaring success. Roll credits.
This week Jolla showed off the Sailfish mobile OS - or at least it showed the user interface - and gave the industry an insight into progress so far. As we all know, Nokia decided to go with Microsoft's Windows in early 2011 and ditched further MeeGo development having launched the MeeGo-based N9 which (despite being an end-of-the-line offering) did rather well.
A group of executives left to continue the work, apparently with Nokia's blessing, and formed Jolla to give MeeGo a new lease of life.
Sailfish is first fruit and the company has released a video
to give a flavour of what the OS will at least look like (and in the world of the mobile OS its the UI that is at least half - maybe more - the battle).
The consensus is that it's a cross - certain aspects behave in a Windows tiles-like fashion, but there's also a distinctly Android flavour to the whole thing.
The first products using Sailfish will, it's claimed, arrive next year and, like Android (with which it is compatible - Android apps will run on Sailfish) the OS will work across devices with tablets TVs and automotive systems all being targeted.
Jolla also previewed the Sailfish Software Development Kit (SDK) based on the Qt Creator cross-platform environment also dumped by Nokia in favour of its Windows strategy.
In other signs of progress Jolla announced that it had an agreement with Finnish mobile operator DNA to support the Sailfish device(s) and a deal with ST-Ericsson for chipsets.
So will it really be able to break out of the Nordic market (in fact, will it first be able to break into the Nordic market?). Obviously it faces stiff competition, but Jolla has garnered a reported €200 million in start-up finance and it will have the distinct advantage of being able to support Android apps as a kickstarter.
Last but not least, it is counting on generating buy-in from Europe's considerable Nokia developer base still smarting from the Nokia U-turn to Redmond.
Watch out for those all-important SDK download figures.
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