Jolla Sailfish an 'Android killer'

2014-03-17 12:00
The Jolla smartphone powered by Sailfish is aimed at taking on Google Android operating system. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The Jolla smartphone powered by Sailfish is aimed at taking on Google Android operating system. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Barcelona - A new operating system is necessary to inject excitement into a dull mobile phone ecosystem and offer manufacturers alternatives, an industry player has said.

Sailfish is advertised as a competitor for the dominance of Google's Android mobile operating system, that doesn't require users to abandon their favourite applications.

"First of all, the whole industry is stagnant; there hasn't been much change for years and years," Tim McDonald, head of marketing for Jolla told News24 about the need for a new OS.

Sailfish has its roots in Nokia's MeeGo which powered the N9 smartphone. Even though Nokia abandoned the OS in favour of Windows Phone for its flagship devices, a group of engineers left the company to continue pursuing software development of MeeGo.

Android has grown into a dominant mobile phone OS and eclipsed early platforms in terms of market share, including Apple's iOS which powers the iPhone.

Android applications

Even Android leader Samsung has quietly been working on an alternative to Google's OS and McDonald said that manufacturers were ready for substitutes.

"Other manufacturers are hungry for alternatives, so the landscape is completely ready" for Sailfish, he said.

Jolla's smartphones take many of their design cues from the N9, sporting an 8 megapixel main camera and 2 megapixel secondary camera, as well as 16GB of onboard storage and a micro-SD slot.

The 11.4cm display is protected by Gorilla Glass and the phone weighs in at 141g.

"I think Jolla is saying that 'We don't want to quit of a project that we really believed in' and naturally we decided to keep MeeGo alive," said McDonald.

The device critically runs Android applications so that it lowers the barrier to market penetration with users. This detail has also been adopted by Nokia which recently launched its X range of smartphones which are also Android compatible.

"All the [Android] apps that I've been using lately have been working great. We have the Yandex store with tens of thousands of applications; there're also other stores available which users can install on the phone - and it's improving all the time," said McDonald.


The Jolla smartphone is available in Europe for €399 and McDonald said that South Africans need not feel left out because the company was keen on developing markets as well.

"We're focusing now on the mid-range and I think that's attractive to both" market segments, he said.

Jolla hopes that manufacturers will adopt the new OS and demonstrated Sailfish running on several devices at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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