By the Blouin News Technology staff

Jolla’s open-source smartphone makes debut

by in Personal Tech.

One of the founders of Jolla company, Sami Pienimaki, presents the new Jolla smartphone in Helsinki. KIMMO MANTYLA/AFP/Getty Images

One of the founders of Jolla, Sami Pienimaki, presents the new Jolla smartphone. KIMMO MANTYLA/AFP/Getty Images

Finland-based smartphone maker Jolla is debuting a few hundred examples of its new device in Helsinki on November 27 — mostly sold to those who have preordered the phones — marking its official entrance into the market for open-source smartphones on what Jolla hopes to be a global scale.

The company has spent much of the last year hyping both software and hardware aspects of the device it has built to run its operating system dubbed Sailfish. The Sailfish OS has come from the core of Nokia’s old MeeGo OS and is an open-source system compatible with Android applications. Sailfish is what Jolla hopes will entice developers to create a versatile and appealing app marketplace for potential users with a multitasking-focused user interface and other unique display features.

Having partnered with Finnish carrier DNA, Jolla starts small with the number of devices it releases to users. 450 of its device called The Other Half launch today with Jolla’s hardware design it also hopes will cull users away from the old hat names of Samsung and Apple. The phone is designed to have a replaceable shell backing that is available in different colors. Jolla says that as users switch interchangeable shells, the fonts and certain displays change with the UI as the shell is somewhat integrated into the software of the device.

Jolla enters the market with other names including Canonical and Mozilla — two companies also hoping to lure customers from the duopoly of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS with their open-source platforms and unique hardware. Canonical recently launched a crowd-funding project to raise money to create its Ubuntu Edge phone, but having failed to raise its desired $32 million, it will have to look elsewhere for devices to host its mobile OS. And Mozilla’s Firefox OS for mobile has made some progress having partnered with ZTE and LG most recently for devices for South American and European markets.

Making a dent in the dominance of Android in the world marketplace for open-source operating systems seems near impossible at this point as the operating system occupies 81% of smartphone sales on the planet, according to the IDC. But, collectively, perhaps these companies launching innovative new systems will begin to erode the power of Android. At this point, it’s too early to say. But Jolla will be right alongside those that make moves into the future smartphone market.