Nokia launched an amazing phone last year called the N9. It ran a Linux based operating system called MeeGo, it didn’t have any front facing buttons, it had a perfectly sized 3.9 inch screen, and the press absolutely fell in love it. So much so that Stephen Elop decided to kill the N9 shortly after it shipped because he wanted the world to pay attention to the company’s Windows Phone lineup. In fact, the Lumia 800 and Lumia 900 are basically the N9, but with Microsoft’s software on-board.
Since MeeGo was effectively killed, those who worked on the OS had a tough decision to make: Keep working for Nokia, but on projects they really couldn’t care less about, or leave the company and try to start their own thing. This is how Jolla was born. The company is based in Helsinki, has roughly 50 employees, and their goal is to announce a phone by the end of this year. Last month I sat down with the CEO, Jussi Hurmola, and had a 20 minute chat with him. You can listen to or read that interview here.
One of the questions I asked him then and the question that’s been on everyone’s mind since is how will Jolla be competitive without an app ecosystem? According to Arctic Startup, who quotes the Finnish publication 3T, Jolla’s CEO says that his OS will run HTML5 apps, Qt apps, and something that hasn’t been confirmed until today: Android applications. This will be enabled via a software project called ACL (application compatibility layer).
And the news doesn’t stop there. Jolla’s CEO has also confirmed that their first phone will have a 3.5 inch screen. Is that a dangerous thing to do in today’s market? Maybe, but Jolla is crazy enough that it might just work!
[Image Credit: Screenshot from this video]
Update 2: Jolla has unveiled their first device running Sailfish OS.
Update: Arctic Startup now says the phone will have a screen larger than 3.5 inches. Before they reported that it would be exactly 3.5 inches.