Curious about Sailfish? Check out the Jolla Phone launcher port for Android 4.2 and up

by: J. Angelo RacomaJuly 4, 2014

Jolla Phone launcher

Customization is one of the stronger points of Android as a platform. However, for some, running a new launcher, installing SMS and calling app replacements, and rooting one’s device is not enough. Android’s open source underpinnings has actually been forked by manufacturers and developers so that they can deliver their own user experience and run their own platform. Take Amazon’s Fire OS, for example, or Nokia’s “X” platform.

In the recent years, another notable mobile OS is Jolla’s Sailfish OS. Jolla is a company formed by former Nokia employees, which was taken by observers as an indication that these folks are likely to be good at creating great hardware, coupled with an interesting user experience. After all, this was how Nokia had been known during the golden days of Symbian. [Update: Sailfish is not based on AOSP, but is rather based on Linux and Mer. Thank you for pointing this out.]

Not everyone is willing to spend for a new device or install a custom ROM just to test out a new user experience, however. Which is why Jolla has earlier announced an alpha program for running its Jolla Phone launcher, which essentially lets Android users try out the Sailfish UI without having to purchase a new phone.

Jolla phone launcher 2Just recently, an XDA Developer member ported the Jolla Phone launcher for use on any device running Android 4.2 and up. Navigation involves swiping from the screen edges to access the app drawer, lock screen and access to previous screens — consistent with the Sailfish OS user experience. Users might notice that Sailfish normally does not come with on-screen navigation buttons, but these are still persistent in this alpha port.

Some users have reported errors and incompatibilities, however. For example, if you’re running on ART, the launcher may not run at all. Some devices will also have issues displaying notifications. Other users have reported the app forced-closing. Again, being in alpha one would expect these issues, especially as the original developers are also working on making their app (and ROM) compatible with as many devices possible.

Links to the APK download are available via XDA Developers, at the sources below. Have you tried out the Jolla Phone launcher? Tell us what you think about the interface in the comments section below.

  • Balvinder Makkar

    Not even opening in ART.
    Got the mail from them last night that if u have not been selected for aplha testing.
    You will be get the link to the app when the beta testing start.
    Right now its un-usable in its current form if u r using ART.

    • Shade Miller

      It was already stated in the article that it doesn’t run with ART very well.

      • Balvinder Makkar

        This is what happens when u straight away download the things and read the description later..:-P

  • TDN

    I tried to get in on the alpha testing, but didn’t get the email. So, now I wait for the beta…

  • Matti Dupre

    “Android’s open source underpinnings has actually been forked by manufacturers and developers . . . In the recent years, another notable fork is Jolla’s Sailfish OS.” Unless I’m mistaken, Sailfish is based on Mer, in turn a fork of MeeGo. It does appear to loosely support Android apps and utilize some Android drivers though.

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  • Skander

    It’s not an Android fork, it’s another OS coming from MeeGo, just like Tizen (coming from multiple sources) both have compatibility layers to run android apps if you want.

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  • Furkan Sanane

    which mobilephone is this on the pictures ? :)

    • Ivan Zdane

      The Nexus 5

    • Richard Gao

      Come on bro, that’s standard Android knowledge

  • steelew

    It opens slowly and seems overly complicated for what it is doing. I’m sticking with Nova launcher.

  • Cal Rankin

    This needs a rewrite. Why mention Fire OS? Sailfish is just another Linux-based mobile OS, like Android.