Mobile What is the Saiilfish OS?

Published on July 4th, 2013 | by Vikesh Balani

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What is the Sailfish OS?

Jolla (pronounced ‘Yo-La’), a startup company located somewhere in Europe has been working hard on a particular take on the Linux kernel to produce, what they believe to be the most innovative operating system for a smart phone. While that may be debatable, SailFish OS, their baby, is yet another impressive operating system with gesture-based menus (like on the BlackBerry OS 10 and Ubuntu for Smart Phones) with a modern UI (User Interface) making work easier.

Before I begin describing the OS, understanding its roots can be interesting, pulling in some really major companies. A couple of years ago, Nokia was losing its market due to the craze of smart phones that Apple brought in. With the rise of the iPhone, companies like Google and Nokia decided to challenge Apple with their own smart phone solutions. While Google developed Android, Nokia was working closely with Intel, believe it or not, to create an ARM and x86 chip based Linux based operating system called MeeGo. But when Microsoft developed the Windows Phone OS, they needed a company too. Striking a deal with Nokia (which I suspect involved a lot of money), Nokia ditched MeeGo and went the Lumia way, introducing their line of Windows Phones.

The Phone in All It's Glory

MeeGo, being an interesting project, was never dropped, and after all this time, we get to see its baby (with the company Jolla, a start-up created by former Nokia employees) – SailFish. As mentioned above, SailFish is designed to work with ARM and x86 devices, much like Windows RT. However, unlike other budding OS’s, their approach towards addressing the availability of apps is rather interesting. Believe it or not, SailFish OS can run Android apps straight out of the box – delivering over 800,000 apps with its launch! You can watch this video to get a first-look at SailFish.

Jolla (pronounced: Yo-La)



If that wasn’t exciting enough – check out these easy-to-use ways to operate your Jolla phone:

  1. To change a property associated with any field, simply tap and hold the field, and then swipe down to see your available options. This is a great way to embed a list of options without compromising screen-estate.
  2. Directional swiped are embedded throughout the OS allowing for menus and the like, opting not to have physical buttons.
  3. To close an app, simply press and hold on the left-side of your app, and then drag to the right. The ‘tap-and-hold’ bit is pretty clever, insuring that these gestures don’t interfere with swiping-based games, like Fruit Ninja.
  4. Pressing (and holding) on the right-side of any app, and then dragging to the left reveals a notification center (similar to how it is on Mac OS X) with a quick view of your network and battery (like on Windows 8 and Windows RT). As soon as you lift your finger, you’ll back where you left your app.

There are many more interesting and innovative ways to use your phone, including the “Other Half“. The “Other Half”, designed to look (and function) as a battery cover for the back of your smart phone, can double up as a hardware extension, adding capabilities to your device, such as extra RAM, a specialized controller, extra storage space, a loud-speaker system, NFC-capability, a feature that hadn’t been released at the time of the launch of the phone – really, sky is the limit. Furthermore, the OS takes a theme that matches the colour of the “Other Half” to make the phone more personalized.

The "Other Half"

Jolla is focusing mainly on the software front, offering what they call the best operating system to date. Their defense on the matter is that in a world where Android has become a common platform, it is only hardware that mobile giants can compete on, since there isn’t much else to compete about. However, for Jolla and SailFish OS, it’s a whole new ball game, and with their advanced OS, they feel that the ball is in their court.

While I won’t disagree with Jolla’s statement on the hardware competition, I seriously hope that their hardware can run SailFish as smoothly as a fish swims. Their OS is a mind-blowing concept, and given the right publicity, Jolla’s phones could very well make its way to the top, competing against Android and iOS. What do you think about SailFish OS? Do you think that it’s worth pushing out into a world dominated by the seemingly undefeatable Android and iOS? Let me know in the comments section below. Let me know what you think in the comments section. If you enjoyed what you just read, then you can click here to view a list of articles by the same author(s). Till then, keep the comments rolling, swallow the red pill and accept this - thank you for reading, but our princess is in another castle!

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About the Author

As editor-in-chief here at <Decoding>, I love criticism, suggestions and single women (among other things). But of course, we're all lovers of technology, and many of us cannot imagine how we survived ten years ago without the things we have today. I'm here to blog about what will be obsolete a decade from now, and I strive to put it in a way that makes you love it. So let's "decode" the latest "tech" today, readers and programmers alike, and engineer an engaging blog together.



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