MeeGo

Jolla Confirms It Will Unveil Sailfish MeeGo-Based OS Next Month

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Finnish mobile startup Jolla has announced it will be unveiling its forthcoming MeeGo-based mobile OS — codenamed Sailfish — at an event in Finland next month. It says it plans to demonstrate Sailfish at the Slush startup conference in Helsinki, Finland, on November 21-22.

The startup, which is comprised of many former Nokia employees, said it will also discuss the Jolla SDK and app ecosystem with developers. “Device information, ID and expected availability” will be announced before Christmas, it added. “I’m thrilled to finally be able to show the user interface we have been working on, and it will be exciting to open the developer story with SDK and applications to the public,” said Jussi Hurmola, CEO of Jolla, in a statement.

Earlier this week Jolla announced the formation of an Alliance in Hong Kong to support its forthcoming OS — a fork of the open source MeeGo OS — and to help build out the ecosystem. Alliance members — as yet unnamed — will be contributing €200 million ($259 million) to expedite growth of the ecosystem. Jolla did not specify the time period over which the funding will be received but said it would be released gradually, rather than as an up front investment.

The latest release notes that Jolla has been working on “the scalability and user experience based on MeeGo in order to be able to support multiple different device categories” — suggesting it’s intending for Sailfish to sail onto more than just mobile phones.

“This development has now reached a point that Jolla can showcase the user interface, its differentiation from the existing mobile UI’s and its possibilities as part of the Sailfish alliance,” Jolla adds.

The release makes specific mention of something it calls the “Jolla user interface” — saying this will be incorporated into “the previously announced Sailfish alliance software”. The Jolla UI name presumably refers to the commercial name for the Sailfish smartphone UI. Asked if the Jolla UI is another name for the Sailfish UI a spokeswoman for the company said: “Yes, Sailfish and Jolla user interface are very close to each other.”

The use of a separate phrase — “Sailfish alliance software” — suggests that the underlying OS could be open for alliance members to add different UIs of their own, in much the same way that Android is able to put on various software skins.

(Update: Jolla has confirmed the underlying technology in Sailfish will be shared, providing the following statement: “Jolla will unveil Jolla’s smartphone UI. Sailfish will share the technology which we use in the Jolla device, but the look and feel is Jolla smartphone specific” — and adding this additional clarification: “Sailfish alliance software is the MeeGo based Jolla OS openly developed in the Mer project, plus Jolla’s own software and software created by the alliance members.”)

Back in July Jolla signed a sales and distribution deal with Chinese phone retailer D.Phone Group. At the time, Donghai Liu, Founder and CEO of D.Phone Group, made mention of “Jolla’s fresh and unique user experience” — but it remains to be seen how radically different the Sailfish/Jolla UI is.

At least we now know how long we have to wait.

Release follows below

A date and place has been set to reveal the new Jolla smartphone user interface and deliver the Jolla developer story and SDK. Jolla Ltd. will demonstrate the Jolla user interface, based on the recently announced Sailfish alliance OS, at the Slush event in Helsinki, Finland on 21-22 November. Jolla is very excited to be able to share the user interface, and talk about the Jolla SDK and application ecosystem with the developers. Jolla will publish the device information, ID and expected availability before Christmas.

Peter Vesterbacka, a founder of Slush: “Slush has grown up to be the biggest entrepreneurship event in Northern Europe. It’s great to see hot new startups like Jolla use Slush as the venue for their major announcements. New business creation and innovation is alive and kicking at Slush and in the region”.

Mikko Kuusi, CEO of Startup Sauna: “Jolla is a great example of what happens, when you combine the extreme technical talent found in Finland with the right attitude and ambition level of companies like Rovio.”

In addition, Jolla will be hosting a separate, in-depth session to showcase the user interface, and a press Q&A session. The Jolla user interface will be incorporated into the previously announced Sailfish alliance software. Jolla has been working on the scalability and user experience based on MeeGo in order to be able to support multiple different device categories. This development has now reached a point that Jolla can showcase the user interface, its differentiation from the existing mobile UI’s and its possibilities as part of the Sailfish alliance.

Jussi Hurmola, CEO of Jolla: “I’m thrilled to finally be able to show the user interface we have been working on, and it will be exciting to open the developer story with SDK and applications to the public.”