Jolla phone is a colorful, Sailfish OS-powered Android. With even Microsoft struggling to make much impact into the smartphone world with Windows Phone, and BlackBerry's outlook looking less than brilliant, launching a new phone with an entirely new operating system might seem like a risky decision. It is powered by a dual-core 1.4GHz processor which seemed powerful enough to offer a smooth interface. There is a 2,100mAh battery inside, which Jolla reckons will give up to 9 hours of 3G talktime and on the back you will find an 8-megapixel camera. It has LTE connectivity for super-fast data downloads too.
With its two-tone split, the Jolla phone is distinctive. It looks almost like two phones squashed together. Both the glass front and plastic back are very plain, minimalist design quite attractive particularly with the bright, lime green case. Back panels are interchangeable and have NFC chips in, allowing different covers to automatically change themes and settings when they're clicked on to your phone. They link to your Jolla account to allow them to save your settings, which has the knock-on effect of stopping you from trading them with your friends.
Display and measurements
The 4.5-inch display has a 960x540-pixel resolution. That is a little low and it does result in small text under the icons looking a little fluffy. The phone measures 131mm long, 68m wide and is 9.9mm thick. It is hardly the slimmest phone around, nor is it the lightest, but it is easy enough to hold and more comfortable to type on one-handed than any of the 5 and 6-inch phablets.
Volume and power buttons are on the side, with a 3.5mm headphone jack and micro-USB port on the top. A microSD card is hidden under the back cover, allowing you to expand the 16GB of storage.
The phone runs Jolla's Sailfish OS, an offshoot of the MeeGo software that used to be found on old Nokia phones such as the N9. While the software has some visual similarities to MeeGo, it is functionally very different, and far removed from its Android or iOS rivals. For one, there are no navigation buttons, so making your way around requires you to use various gestures.
A double tap will wake the phone up and show you notifications. Swipe up and you will see your recent apps and keep swiping up to make your way to a grid of app icons. To return home from an app, swipe in from the left and it will place the app in a multi-tasking panel. When going through menus or text message conversations, simply swiping back will return you to the previous page. A swipe up from below the screen shows a notifications panel.
The multi-tasking panel can show up to nine app thumbnails for you to easily switch to, with four apps sitting below for quick access to crucial tools. Sailfish does not make use of big widgets across its homescreen, so keen Android users might feel out of place here.
One of the big issues with any new operating system is a lack of app support from developers. It is an issue that has plagued BlackBerry and continues to be a problem for Windows Phone Instagram has only just made its way to Windows Phone devices. Sailfish has a huge head start, however, as it is possible to run Android apps on the phone.
Although you cannot access the Google Play Store, as it is not accredited by Google, there are third-party app stores where you can find big Android titles such as Spotify, LinkedIn, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others. The apps themselves run exactly as they would do on a standard Android phone. On-screen virtual navigation keys appear below the display to help you move around, although returning to home requires the same swipe in from the left.
Shiping and pricing
The Jolla phone is currently being shipped out to early pre-order customers across Europe for 399 euros around $540.
The Jolla phone is certainly an unusual piece of kit, with its two-tone design and Sailfish software. While an entirely new operating system for a phone might seem like a dangerous move for Jolla, its support for Android apps means it Is already off to a decent start.