I'm feeling jolly for Jolla's Sailfish OS

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| September 17, 2013

Not too terribly long ago I had posed the question in one of my articles that asked whether you thought it was too late for a new platform to emerge on the smartphone market or not. Obviously, it's impossible to tell whether it's really too late or not, but for the most part my take on the manner was that iOS and Android are running such a large duopoly in this industry that some new platform would need a lot of spunk in order to catch up to those two, not to mention Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry which are sitting somewhat dormant towards the bottom. But just because a new platform may not make it to the ranks of Android or iOS doesn't mean it isn't any good.

Jolla, an independent company founded with former Nokia employees around the time that Nokia agreed to work with Microsoft on Windows Phone, has been working on a new smartphone platform called 'Sailfish OS' for quite some time now. Unlike other platforms in the works, such as Mozilla's Firefox OS or Ubuntu for Phones, Sailfish has been unusually quiet about their progression. They've been so hush-hush that there are a few times where I have completely forgotten that it even existed - which probably is what makes it all the more interesting whenever it pops up in the news, as rarely as it happens.

Jolla's Sailfish is described as being "based on MeeGo operating system, with the Mer project core". While MeeGo never got very far as an operating system, it seems that some workers on the MeeGo project from Nokia hadn't lost all hope, and possibly for good reason. In news recently, we learned that Sailfish OS will be compatible with both Android applications and hardware. So, not only is Sailfish already going to have a good foundation of applications from the same selection you get from the Google Play Store, but you may also be able to run Sailfish from a piece of hardware that you already own.

It hasn't been made clear what Android devices are able to run Sailfish, but it's unfortunately clear that the U.S. is not the Finnish company's target market. That being said, I may be getting pumped about this for absolutely no reason at all. Regardless of whether I can use the OS or not, the idea that this operating system is able to mimic Android is a pretty cool thing. But the fact that the only thing exciting about Sailfish so far is that it can mimic Android seems to worry some given that it doesn't really have a true reason for people to switch from one OS to another. If that's all Sailfish truly has to offer, then it probably won't become that popular - but I still think that this platform has a lot of hidden potential.

Just last week we learned about Newkia, the new Nokia, and their plans to hopefully bring Android to "Nokia's" hardware. In a sense, it seems that Jolla is doing the same thing with Sailfish, but instead of bringing new hardware to Android, their goal is to bring one of the most useful parts of Android over to Sailfish in order to attract people, and that's the the applications. I have to admit, from the pictures of Sailfish's UI, it looks like a truly beautiful new operating system that I would like to try out. But I also said the same thing about BlackBerry, and the key thing stopping people from switching to BlackBerry was the lack of applications. Although some Android applications could be sideloaded into BlackBerry devices, not very many could and not all were that functional.

In the words of Derek Zoolander, "I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is."  Well, apparently Jolla feels the same way.

Jolla claims that Sailfish is able to use any Android application just as good as an Android device can. With Jolla's goals of making Sailfish about speed and multitasking, along with their cleanly designed UI and now Android application support, this might be a new OS worth checking out whenever more details are released. They may be keeping quiet, but apparently that doesn't necessarily mean nothing is getting done.

Readers, what are your thoughts on Sailfish OS? If it turns out to be available on your Android device, will you be trying it out? Let us know your thoughts in the commets below!

Images via Notebook Check, Laptop Mag