Swedish mobile startup Jolla is one step closer to entering the mobile OS market. The company revealed on Monday its first handset. The new smartphone is not only the Finnish company’s first device, but it will be the first smartphone to host the company’s new mobile operating system Sailfish OS.
Details about the new handset (currently referred to as Jolla) remain relatively scarce, but the company has announced the device will offer a 4.5-inch Estrade display, dual-core processor, 16GB of onboard storage with SD card slot, and an 8MP camera. Jolla also announced that the device will support 4G compatibility, but its availability is dependent on carrier support.
Jolla CEO Tomi Pienimaki has been adamant that the current hardware specs are not set in stone. However, the possibility for changing specs doesn’t seem to the only reason that Jolla is resistant to talk about the hardware.
“We would really like to avoid the hardware details… If you look at all the vendors producing Android phones, to me it seems hardware is the only way to compete because that’s the operating system that everyone has,” Pienimaki told ZDNet in a report.
With its own OS Jolla believes that it has the opportunity to focus on the user experience instead of hardware specs. The company’s new device appears to be the best evidence of that, as the LTE-handset will incorporate unique back covers with the software, allowing both the look and features of the device to be customized.
Jolla has named this concept the “OtherHalf”. Adding new back panels will not only alter the aesthetic, but allow users to change their layouts on the fly and even add in new features of functionalities all together. This ability is thanks to the chip which is embedded in the back panel of the device, which is why Jolla has affectionately called it the OtherHalf.
Jolla was born as an off shoot of MeeGo, after Nokia dropped the OS in favor on Microsoft’s Windows Phone. The mobile startup, comprised of former Nokia employees, originally planned on reviving MeeGo OS, but then announced back in October of 2012 that it would offer a completely new mobile OS based off of MeeGo.
Unlike other Mobile OS newcomers such as Mozilla’s Firefox OS, which targets entry-level consumers, Sailfish is directly targeting a higher-end demographic in predominantly European and Chinese markets. The company has already paired up with Finland’s DNA, Chinese manufacturer Zopo, and Chinese distributor D Phone.
Targeting the high-end market leaves Jolla with no shortage of competitors. The company will likely contend against other emerging mobile OSes including Ubuntu and Tizen (another MeeGo offshoot), along with established mobile giants Android and Apple’s iOS.
Jolla announced that its new handset is available for pre-order in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy for €399 (£337). The device is expected to ship some time during the fourth quarter of this year.