Device operating systems

Jolla to Take on Apple & Android With OS Launch

Tomorrow is a big day in the smartphone operating system market as Finnish startup Jolla Ltd. will unveil its new MeeGo-based OS and user interface at an event in Helsinki. (See One Giant Leap for MeeGo .)

The company will reveal its new Sailfish OS and Jolla user interface on Wednesday morning at the two-day Slush conference, which brings together startups from Northern Europe and Russia.

The event will mark the revival of the work Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) started on the MeeGo operating system before it ditched the platform in favor of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Windows Phone OS. Indeed, Jolla (which means a small sailboat in the Finnish language) was founded by a band of former Nokia employees who worked together on Nokia's N9 smartphone and the MeeGo OS. (See Nokia Refugees Revive MeeGo.)

Details are scarce about the Sailfish OS and new user interface, which is why tomorrow's announcement is eagerly anticipated. And while Jolla will reveal the OS and the user interface specifications, the startup has not yet specified the launch date for a device running the Sailfish OS.

But here's what we do know about Jolla and Sailfish so far:

  • There will be three parts to Jolla's business: It will manufacture smartphones in order to lead the Sailfish ecosystem; it will license the OS to other device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs); and it will enter into revenue-sharing deals for the services it plans to introduce for Sailfish devices.

  • The company is headquartered in Helsinki and has an R&D facility in Tampere, Finland, but it recently established an industry alliance in Hong Kong to develop a version of Sailfish for the Chinese market. (See Startup Jolla Revives MeeGo in China .)

  • Jolla has partnered with China's largest phone retailer, D.Phone Group.

  • Sailfish is not exactly MeeGo, but based on MeeGo. It builds on the work of open-source programs including the Qt Project and Mer Core.

  • Sailfish is not just for smartphones; the OS is also designed for set-top boxes, TVs and tablets.

  • In October, Jolla COO Marc Dillon took over the CEO job from Jussi Hurmola, who is now focused on Sailfish strategy. Dillon was previously Nokia's principal engineer for MeeGo.

The big questions for Jolla that ought to be answered tomorrow are: How will this new OS be different from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iOS, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Android, Windows Phone and other alternative open-source platforms? And how will Jolla attract developers to create compelling applications and mobile operators to back its devices?

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— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:17:28 PM
re: Jolla to Take on Apple & Android With OS Launch

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's webcast, especially to see just what this new user interface is going to look like.

I'd also like to know what the reaction is from mobile operators to this new OS and smartphones. Operator support will be important for Jolla.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:17:27 PM
re: Jolla to Take on Apple & Android With OS Launch

What can they do to take on Android exactly?

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:17:26 PM
re: Jolla to Take on Apple & Android With OS Launch

Since this team also produced the UI (Swipe) for the Nokia version of MeeGo, I expect some big things.  The Swipe UI has since been copied by RIM for their BB 10 release.  The Swipe UI is nothing like what has been used in the past, so this team knows how to be different and yet make it functional.  The same cannot be said for the “Metro” UI people at Microsoft; it is different but not really functional.  All the reviews from the start have proved this.

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:17:26 PM
re: Jolla to Take on Apple & Android With OS Launch

How they can take on Android?  They could use ACL and thus Sailfish can use any Android app that is Java based.  Sailfish will have their own apps that would be Qt based as well.  So you can run MeeGo (Sailfish) apps or the majority of Android apps.  With Motorola being owned by Google, how does that make the other manufacturers feel?  Samsung felt strong enough about it to team up with Intel for Tizen and other manufacturers are willing to support (at least so far) Tizen as well.  How much support there will be for Tizen will remain to be seen as the other manufacturers may not want to jump into bed with the competition and Intel.  Intel has a motive in all of this; selling x86 processors.  Jolla would look more appealing as they will only be a hardware manufacturer to get devices out and at some point be just a software developer.  They exiting manufacturers wouldn’t need to deal with a push for x86 processors and they could use their existing knowledge of ARM to build the phones.


The battle could be for Google to lose.  Being the top guy can sometimes be harder to maintain than it was to take.

Cloud 4G 12/5/2012 | 5:17:24 PM
re: Jolla to Take on Apple & Android With OS Launch

Meego..meego..meego.. daylight come an me wanna go home.

I haven't heard much about Meego for a couple years and assumed it had faded away like an old general.. but here it is trying to regain momentum.


The problem with any new OS is that the industry has already voted with 2 billion Apple iOS and Android devices and too many apps to count.  That makes entrance of a new player, or resurgence of an old/reformulated one a matter of what momentum it can gather from other camps.  Microsoft's camp is trying to seed momentum by enticing developers, operators and device suppliers with the usual gambut of spiffs, promotions and comps but the chances of doing more than 10-15% share are slim imo.  The problem for Microsoft/Nokia et al is that the competitive camps are so large and ther eis so much momentum for innovations that others have little chance of getting to the starting gate.  And coming up with a first issue of software and an initial slate of programs that match the stake in the ground release date for a competitive offering is not a true measure of success because the pace of new OS, new core and connected features brought to the OS and new hardware and apps that take advantage of the new release is occuring at "Internet Time" X times Mobile.

The fact is that Apple's camp is being outpaced in new releases and new features coming into Android.. think about what people were saying about iOS vs Android 2-3 years ago.. that Android would take years to catch up if ever.  It has taken a fewyears but not forever.. in some distinct ways, iOS remains far better of an OS.. but in most ways Android has caught up and in some cases now offers unique or better capabilities (mapping a more blarring example(.


The stage has changed: the market itself creates a paradim shift for device innovation and applications to occur including new possibiloities for having apps work across mutple screens/devices and social networks.  That causes the goal posts to not just rise, but to be unreachable or so segregated that for the bulk of the market its as if Meego just does not exist.


Meego..meego..meego.. daylight come an me wanna go home.


 I work all night from quarter to one.

 Stack bananas 'till the morning come.

Come Mister tally man; tally me bananas.

I come here to work I didn't come here for to idle.

One han'  two  Han'  three han'  bunch!

One han'  five han'  six han'  bunch!

Meego..meego..meego.. daylight come an me wanna go home.


-Better to get a job on a banna boat than bet on Meego imo.

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:17:23 PM
re: Jolla to Take on Apple & Android With OS Launch

Jolla took the wraps off its operating system and user interface on Wednesday in Helsinki and launched the software development kit as well. 

The highlight of the UI appears to be what CEO Marc Dillon described as "true multitasking" during this morning's webcast. He showed how users will be able to leave their favorite apps open most of the time and not have to go deep into each app to change things.

And the first European mobile operator partner is DNA, Finland's third largest operator.



krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:17:21 PM
re: Jolla to Take on Apple & Android With OS Launch

So you go with the number of handsets sold?  Symbian has Android and iOS beat then.

Sailfish will run Android apps at native speed.  So while Jolla is trying to build an ecosystem, they get to leverage that of another.  You get the compatibility of Android but without all the spying. ;)

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:17:21 PM
re: Jolla to Take on Apple & Android With OS Launch

The Sailfish OS UI is not much different than that of the Swipe UI that Nokia used on MeeGo.  They have added some features but the base is the same.  Some additions is that you can interact with the application when it is minimized.  Like the media player, you can control it like you would when the app is full screen.  They did change the status page though.


MeeGo offered true multitasking as well and with Sailfish using the Mer Core which is essentially MeeGo, there will be a lot of similarities.

BB 10 was also a copy of the Swipe UI from Nokia.  Jolla might be protected from Nokia through the use of the Bridge program that Jolla has used.  RIM, not so much.

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:17:19 PM
re: Jolla to Take on Apple & Android With OS Launch

How will Android compete with Jolla?


"It will distribute its version of MeeGo free of charge to device makers – but is said to be looking at a range of other ways to raise funds, including via mobile advertising, software licensing and a possible IPO."


Android has a Microsoft tax on every device sold.  Don't the carriers want an third Ecosystem?  Any (Android) apps the carriers have can run on Sailfish.

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