Can a Finnish phone company make magic twice? That’s what startup Jolla is hoping. Founded by former Nokia engineers, the company is offering its first smartphone for sale today, running the all-new (though based on MeeGo) Sailfish OS. Sailfish is built on top of Linux, with a powerful gesture-control interface presented to the end user.
It’s this gesture control that Jolla is counting on to set its phone apart from the rest of the pack, with unique multitasking features and a step away from the sort of bloatware that is increasingly common on today’s smartphones and tablets. The company is also promising a rapid update schedule, with updates delivered over-the-air.
To get around the uncomfortable lack of applications from which all new operating systems suffer, Jolla is including an Android runtime built by Swiss embedded software company Myriad Group, Inc., as well an Android marketplace from Russia’s Yandex.
Jolla hopes that the software will be enough to attract users to the new platform, as the specifications certainly aren’t – its first handset will ship with a dual-core Qualcomm processor running at 1.4GHz, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in flash storage, and a 4.5-inch, IPS display with a resolution of 960×540. It’s also covered with Corning’s Gorilla 2 Glass, and features a 2MP front-facing camera as well as an 8MP primary shooter with autofocus.
While the first sales of the phone will go through Finnish carrier DNA, Jolla has received pre-orders from around the world. Currently, the phone carries a pricetag of €399, or around $541 in U.S. dollars.