Jolla, a Finnish mobile technology company, has been making smartphones that run the Sailfish OS, which they say has the stability and flexibility of the Linux core. The first thing some will wonder is if it stands a chance against Android and iOS. iOS only accounts for 11% of the global smartphone market, while the Android accounts for 79% of it, Sailfish OS (operating system) can run Android apps, which means that it could theoretically be a strong contender if Jolla allows easy access to the Google Play Store so that their users can get (nearly) any app that they’d like.
I would also recommend that Jolla pre-install the Google Play app on their smartphones to make the switch to a Jolla phone as seamless as possible. Amazon’s Kindle tablets offered all the technology you could ever want (and good quality at that), and at the lowest prices — but they blocked installation of the Google Play app. This might be why the Kindle tablets never took off like I thought they would. All the hardware in the world isn’t going to make a tablet functional. Apps provide their functionality. A tablet is just a machine built to run them.
Sailfish OS is touted especially for its openness and customizability. It is an open-source operating system (as is the immensely popular Android OS) built on the well-known Qt platform. Jolla claims that you can customize it in any way you see fit, if you know how. Sailfish is gesture-based, and it supports multitasking. Unfortunately for some, there are absolutely no buttons on the front of this device. This is common for modern touch-screen smartphones, except the iPhone 5 and 6. I must hand it to Apple for preserving at least one physical button on the phone face which enables you to wake it back up quickly to end calls, etc. It feels more natural to me.
As for the Jolla tablet: It isn’t officially on sale like the smartphone is, yet. It is undergoing an Indiegogo campaign which has raised over $1.4 million USD of their $380,000 goal. This project has certainly taken off. In many cases, open source technology has been held back by the fact that it isn’t usually backed by big companies that have the money to advertise.
The dominance of Linux in the web server industry, the dominance of other OSes such as Android in the mobile technology industry, and the success of WordPress, FileZilla, Firefox, VLC, Audacity, and TrueCrypt has proven that open source technology (in this case, software) can be very successful.
Jolla intends to sell the tablet for $250 USD after the Indiegogo campaign, but you can get it for $209 through the campaign. They called it the ‘world’s first crowdsourced tablet’.
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