In an amazing few short years, Android OS has gone from “that thing from Google” to the industry leader. You can imagine how proud the crew over at Mountain View must feel, and indeed they have earned it. Still, whenever a leader emerges, there will always be those who seek to challenge the dominance. This cycle ensures the given setting is competitive and competent, be it politics or smartphones.
Thanks to the efforts of an ambitious Finnish company named Jolla, the mobile OS wars are on the verge of intensifying, assuming things go well. For those unaware, the company was formed back in 2011 when several Nokia staff members wanted to continue developing the MeeGo platform and broke off to found their own enterprise.
Having already released a €249.00 smartphone last year, Jolla’s Indiegogo crowd-sourced follow up, the Jolla Tablet, has been a relative success since the funding campaign began. The company brought the new device along to Mobile World Congress to showcase its new Sailfish OS 2.0. To say the tablet is a formidable beast might be selling it a bit tall, but it’s a darn good effort that can carry its weight.
Inside you’ll find a quad-core Intel Atom processor, 2GB RAM, 32 or 64GB storage with microSD for expansion, a 5MP rear cam, 2MP front cam, a 7.85-inch display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536, and a 4450 mAh battery. You’d be forgiven it these seemed like the specs you’d find on a newer Android tablet, and in some regard you would be right given that Sailfish OS can run many Android apps (although obviously access to the Google Play Store isn’t an option).
The latest version of the OS will also usher in various improvements over the first build, namely a refined UI, improved notifications, event views, and more swipe-based functionality. Reportedly, the new software will eliminate the need for any power or on-screen buttons with gestures now doing everything. Intel hardware support will be included (which is a good thing considering the Tablet’s CPU) and Jolla promises to have a commitment to protecting user privacy and increased security.
Privacy was a big issue during the company’s press event, with Head of Software Marc Dillon, quoted as saying Android is “designed to collect data from its users.” In an effort to address the resale of such data to partner companies, he proclaimed that, “We are not going to sell user data.” With respect to security, the company is working with SSH Communications Security in order to create an iron-clad, safe environment that governments and companies alike will be able to use with confidence.
Jolla is actively seeking to court interested parties in Russia, Japan, India, and China. The goal is similar to Android: to ultimately get the Sailfish OS platform running on OEM hardware from various companies around the world. While the fledgling OS may be just another fish in the sea along side Firefox OS, Ubuntu OS, Tizen, and even more established players like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and even Blackberry, at the very least the company has some keen ambitions and darn good hardware to showcase them.