Finnish mobile startups Jolla has announced a major breakthrough with its Sailfish mobile operating system. The alternative mobile operating system is now compatible with both the Android app and hardware ecosystems, a significant step for the fledgling platform.
While it has been known for some time that the Sailfish platform has an Android compatibility layer built in that allows the OS to run Android apps without any modification, and Jolla chairman Antti Saarnio revealing in May that Sailfish can be run on Android devices, Jolla has officially kept mum on details regarding both up to this point.
The software and hardware compatibility with Android marks a powerful advantage for Jolla, as it gives the platform a powerful leverage for hardware vendors interested in producing devices for the platform. The added flexibility of different chipset and hardware configurations gives vendors the incentive of producing Sailfish devices at minimal cost in terms of developing hardware for the devices.
On the software front, Android compatibility also allows interested parties (vendors and developers) to install Sailfish on an Android device for testing purposes. For the consumers, it means Android apps will run “without modifications”. While it is unclear what this truly means, Jolla has confirmed that Android’s Play Store will not be available in Sailfish. The company is currently working on cooperating with “leading global app stores” to ensure a seamless experience when installing Android apps, just as consumers would on any Android device. Jolla CEO Tomi Pienimäki specifically mentions popular Android apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Spotify as well as China-based messaging app WeChat to run directly on Sailfish.
In addition, Jolla will also be opening a second batch of pre-orders for its own Sailfish smartphone. The recent acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services division by Microsoft, in the eyes of Jolla (who are made up largely of ex-Nokia staff), has “significantly strengthened” its strategic position. As such, the second batch of pre-orders will specifically target the Finnish market, “for those want to express their passion for the Finnish mobile industry”.