May 20th, 2013

While Jolla isn’t an Android handset, there’s plenty enough reason for those of us in Android land to take notice. Jolla has announced the existence of its first ever Sailfish OS handset. Simply dubbed “Jolla,’ pronounced “yoh-lah,” this handset is based on the Linux-based MeeGo operating system that has, up to this point, failed to gain meaningful traction in the mobile world.

Jolla is using the OS to create its own unique experience, opting for the lesser known option to set itself apart instead of falling in line with the rest of the Android train… except that isn’t 100% true. Like RIM has done with Blackberry 10, Jolla’s Sailfish OS includes an Android runtime that will allow developers to port their applications almost effortlessly.

It’s clear Android’s enormous app ecosystem makes onlookers jealous, and we’re sure those onlookers couldn’t be more happy to know that Android has been built in such a way that allows these runtimes to exist. I’m still not sure how I feel about that sort of piggy-backing — an OS should be enticing enough for developers to create native apps for it right out of the gate. Still, if it has to happen and if it helps developers get their apps onto more platforms we can’t say it’s such a terrible thing.

The phone itself seems pretty decent to start. It’ll have a 4.5 inch HD display (no word on the exact resolution just yet), with 16GB of internal storage, an 8 megapixel camera, and 4G LTE. The device will feature interchangeable backplates, but this isn’t just a normal swapping affair. The phone can determine which color you have on and change software aesthetics accordingly. It’s part of a bigger software experience called “other half” which hasn’t been fully detailed at this time.

Go ahead and watch the video, and see if the Jolla is something you could see being a success up against heavyweights which run Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry OS and iOs. It’s said to be positioned for emerging markets, but who knows what could happen if the device starts gaining a little momentum?

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