Jolla finally unveils Sailfish – a Linux-based rival to Android, iOS and Windows Phone

By Danny Palmer
21 Nov 2012 View Comments

Jolla, the mobile operating system start-up founded by Nokia refugees, has finally unveiled Sailfish, the smartphone operating system based on Linux.

The company had been in "stealth mode" for almost a year before it launched in the summer, and has finally demonstrated a working prototype of Sailfish at the Slush start-up event in Helsinki, Finland today. 

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The company says it has been designed with the most recent consumer needs in mind, enabling "effortless multi-tasking" bringing "usability and speed-­of-­use to a totally new level, unseen in the mobile industry".

Jolla has also announced the support of wireless platform and semiconductor supplier ST-Ericsson for its new operating system.

"We are pleased to add Sailfish OS to the mobile operating systems supported on our NovaThor ModAp platforms," said Peter Oaklander, senior vice president for sales and marketing at ST-Ericsson.

"Supporting Sailfish from its inception shows how flexibly ST-­Ericsson's NovaThor platforms can adapt to different mobile OSs and we look forward to seeing Sailfish-powered devices in the market next year," he added. 

Jolla CEO Marc Dillon welcomed the backing from ST-Ericsson. 

"It is great that this industry leader is partnering with us and Sailfish. ST‐Ericsson's NovaThor platform combined with Sailfish OS will enable vendors to bring highly competitive mobile products to the market," he said, adding the firms are very open to contributions from others.

"We welcome other players in the mobile industry to join and contribute to this game-changing movement."

Jolla described the Sailfish operating system and user interface as "highly adaptable" and claimed that it would support smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and other devices. Co-founder and CEO Jussi Hurmola told Computing about plans for the company and its operating system earlier this year.

Jolla was set up after mobile phone maker Nokia announced that it would stop working on MeeGo, the Linux-based operating system on which Sailfish is based.

MeeGo had originally been a joint venture with microprocessor giant Intel and was intended to run on Intel's entry into the smartphone microchip market, currently dominated by ARM and its production partners. 

However, Intel has only just released some workable silicon in the smartphone market – many years late. Sailfish, meanwhile, has been re-architected to work on more mainstream architectures. 

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