Is The World Ready for New Mobile Operating Systems?: Jolla Sailfish


Launched by a group of former Nokia employees who were previously involved with the abandoned MeeGo, Sailfish is one of the upcoming mobile OSs that has really impressed me.

Based on MeeGo and fronted by the same team that pioneered MeeGo at Nokia, Sailfish still has a long way to go. Based on Linux like Mozilla’s Firefox OS and Canonical’s Ubuntu, the other upcoming mobile OSs, Jolla Sailfish, it will have an Alien Dalvik layer thus allowing porting of Android apps. You have probably seen photos or videos of the Nokia N9 running Ice Cream Sandwich and also Jelly Bean and were wondering why, it is because of that. This is in stark contrast to Ubuntu which will not be having support for Android’s JVM. As much as porting will be possible, Sailfish aims to carve an identity of its own and I’m sure it can. MeeGo as I have interacted with on the N9 is impressive and the thought of someone building on it to create something better as evidenced in the announcement video not only raises our expectations but also whets our appetites that have largely been fed by Android desserts (if you get it 🙂 )

Fronted by the Sailfish team and demoed to the world in November last year, the Sailfish team is banking on a host of Chinese manufacturers to release devices running it as it looks forward to expand later on.

Why should we have interest in Sailfish?

Besides having the advantage to port Android applications, Sailfish will be open source. This means we can only be limited by our own creativity since open platforms open so many doors and only get better as everyone contributes.

Ever tried changing a wallpaper on your current device and if you are using a highly customizable operating system like Android, been forced to also find matching colour schemes and all that stuff? Sailfish promises to be the king of the interface. It will automatically switch to emulate a colour palette that matches your wallpaper selection. It also promises to have widgets.

Like most of the upcoming OSs that had something new for the world at MWC 2013, the Sailfish SDK that was promised back in November 2012, was released there. A new UI was also demoed there. With several twists since its November announcement, this only means one thing: there could still be more coming our way before the first devices running Jolla Sailfish come out. It will be interesting to watch how this pans out.

It is interesting to also note that Sailfish hopes to soon power other consumer devices like your television set so if all goes well, you’ll definitely be seeing it a lot in coming years.

Does it stand a chance? Yes. It will at first premiere in the Chinese market since many partnerships and funding so far has been from the East and if it gains traction in the world’s largest nation then you can bet it will slowly creep up everywhere else. It’s early to tell but there’s a chance.

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Emmanuel writes on mobile hardware, software and platforms.


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