A new Ubuntu mobile platform from Canonical has its first hardware partner. The unnamed partner means that Canonical expects to release one or more high-end smartphones based on the open-source OS sometime next year.
The announcement was made in an interview by Canonical founder and head Mark Shuttleworth with CNET. He also said that discussions are under way with at least four other well-known brands.
The platform in question is Ubuntu Touch OS, a mobile version of the Linux-based open-source system that can also provide a full desktop when the smartphone is connected to a monitor. While Canonical’s mobile OS was announced earlier this fall, the company has not indicated it had a hardware partner until now.
Canonical does not claim Android compatibility for its platform. Instead, it says Android developers can readily develop for Ubuntu, just as they develop for various flavors of Android, plus apps built for their Touch OS will run on smartphones and PCs running the OS.
The company did make an effort to raise $32 million dollars in funding on the Indiegogo crowd-sourced site for its Ubuntu Edge series of smartphones, but did not reach its goal. The Ubuntu Edge series are based on a different Ubuntu mobile platform, Ubuntu for Android, than Touch OS. Like Touch OS, Ubuntu for Android can also operate as a desktop or laptop computer when the smartphone is connected to such peripherals as a monitor and keyboard.
Avi Greengart, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, pointed out that “there are multiple ways to attack the market” if you want to become the third, fourth or fifth major mobile platform after Android, iOS and possibly Windows or BlackBerry.
He noted that the Firefox operating system, from the makers of the popular browser, is “trying to hit the low end” in emerging countries, while Ubuntu’s strategy at this point appears to focus more on the high end.
This is “an extremely tough” challenge, he said, and requires that Ubuntu offer a different value proposition, which they are in that their OS “is a combination of mobile and computer” that can be used with both platforms.
In addition to Firefox and Ubuntu, ex-Nokia personnel have launched a Finland-based start-up called Jolla, which has developed a Sailfish OS mobile platform.
There’s also the Tizen OS from the world’s largest mobile device maker, Samsung. It was originally developed in conjunction with Intel . Like other mobile OSes, Tizen, also based on Linux, is being promoted for other devices besides mobile ones, including refrigerators, TVs and smart cars. Samsung has made several substantial moves recently to push Tizen along, such as the recent formation of nearly three-dozen partnerships with content providers and the offering of $4 million in awards to developers who create the best Tizen apps.
Canonical’s smartphone-sized Ubuntu distribution hasn’t had an official device to call home since release, but it won’t have to live that nomadic existence for much longer. CEO Mark Shuttleworth tells CNET that his company has just signed its first Ubuntu handset deal; the Linux variant should ship with higher-end smartphones sometime in 2014, he says. While Shuttleworth isn’t naming this initial customer, he adds that Canonical is negotiating phone deals with four “household brands.” It’s too soon to say whether or not Ubuntu will get enough support to compete against other mobile platforms, but the agreement suggests that the publicity from the ill-fated Ubuntu Edge campaign is paying off.
Viber Media, the company behind the popular cross-platform messaging and VoIP app Viber, has released version 4.1 of its iOS app today, which sees the company aggressively going after Skype with a new feature called Viber Out. Previously, Viber’s competitors were messaging apps on iOS like iMessages, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. With today’s update for iOS, however, Viber allows iOS users to call any landline or mobile number from within the app.
Viber Out lets Viber users from all over the world call EVERYONE (even if they are not Viber users). Now you can use Viber with your mobile device or desktop and call your loved ones, colleagues and friends, while enjoying awesome rates!
How does it work?
1. Launch Viber on your iPhone or Android phone
2. Buy Viber Out credit
3. Dial the number
4. Start talking!
What’s more, Viber Out allows users to set their iPhone phone number as their caller ID when they call landline or other mobile numbers from the Viber app. This way, the user on the receiving end will know who is calling them. Additionally, Viber Out’s prices are significantly cheaper than Skype’s offerings. Calls to Mexico are almost 500 percent more expensive on Skype than on Viber and calls to the US are more than 100 percent more expensive on Skype than on Viber.
Viber is a free download.
Qualcomm is following Apple and Intel down the 64-bit rabbit hole, announcing today a new version of its Snapdragon processor supporting the new advanced computing architecture. Don’t expect these new chips in high-end devices, though.
Ever since Apple surprised the tech world with a 64-bit CPU in the iPhone 5s’s A7 processor, other mobile silicon vendors have been in a bit of race to proffer up their own 64-bit architectures. Intel is readying its Bay Trail 64-bit architecture for Android smartphones and tablets, and on Monday, Qualcomm announced the upcoming availability of its latest Snapdragon integrated baseband-applications processor, which supports – you guessed it — a 64-bit CPU.
Qualcomm’s new chip, the Snapdragon 410, won’t go into marquee phones like its new quad-core 805. Instead these new silicon designs are targeted at lower-end sub-$150 phones; think cheap Android phones for emerging markets. That may seem like an odd move, since 64-bit architectures are designed to support high-end features like RAM beyond 4 GB and fast-twitch gaming.
But keep in mind low-end and mid-range phones are supporting many of the features recently reserved for high-end devices. For instance, the 410 isn’t just offering better graphics than its predecessors, but also an integrated LTE baseband.
Google hasn’t even announced support for 64-bit computing in Android yet, and these Qualcomm chips won’t ship until the second half of 2014. There’s plenty of time for Qualcomm to introduce 64-bit architectures across its Snapdragon line while the mobile industry is still preparing to take advantage of it.
The mobile wave continues to build with no signs of cresting. According to StatCounter’s data, mobile devices accounted for 21.6 percent of global web browsing as of last month. PCs still have their place but it’s diminishing quickly for some activities
What happens as PC sales decline while smartphones and tablets continue to be bought in greater numbers? A noticeable shift in which computing activities take place and perhaps that’s no more evident than in web browsers.
According to the latest data from StatCounter, mobile web browsers accounted for more than 20 percent of all global browsing for the first time ever.
Computerworld noticed the mobile milestone on Monday, pointing out that mobile’s share of browsing has risen 53 percent this year: In January, smartphones and tablets only accounted for 13 percent of global web surfing.
I doubt this specific data-point will further scare PC-makers; they’ve been watching sales fall for months as 2013 PC sales are expected to be down to 2008 levels. Instead, these figures further illustrate the importance for PC-makers to have a successful mobile strategy as people shift their computing activities from traditional computers to connected handhelds. Too bad they didn’t see this coming as early as 2010!
Natasha Loma, Tech Crunch, 12/9/13
BlackBerry hardware may be languishing unloved on warehouse shelves but the company formerly known as RIM’s long-in-the-tooth mobile messaging client, BBM, ain’t dead yet. Indeed, it’s enjoying a bit of revival — firstly because the company (finally) released it on rivals’ platforms (Android and iOS) where many a former BlackBerry user ended up.
And secondly because, well, mobile messaging as a space is on fire — tipped by analysts for mass adoption next year and a doubling of its global user-base from 1BN to 2BN by year’s end.
That fire is clearly consuming a portion of the attention that used to be funnelled into traditional social networks — redirecting those eyeballs into messaging apps, as kids who previously Facebooked their buddies incessantly now spend their energy sending Snaps or WhatsApps instead (in October Facebook ‘fessed up to some declining usage among teens).
All of which is good news if you’re the app maker of a directory style app for BBM. Search4BBM is just that. When we last wrote about the app, just over a year ago, we described it as “a 411 / Yellow Pages” style system for BBM private users and BBM businesses.
It basically lets people locate others on the BBM network, which uses a pincode system to link chatters to each other (ergo, you need a BBM user’s Pin to send a connection request so you also need a Pincode directory to unlock potential new BBM buddies). Users of the service, which gets its Pin data solely from user submissions, can set their preferred “security level” so their Pin can be found by everyone, only social friends, or only people they personally approve.
Search4BBM has more than 3M BBM pincodes listed in its directory, and allows users to find friends’ BBM Pins by connecting it with their Facebook account, or find others’ Pins by searching by various other criteria — including gender, country, profession, location, GPS, age, city, state and BBM business pages.
At the time we last covered the app (November 2012) it had some 1M active global users who were apparently performing 6M searches per month. (It defines active users as people who have used the app at least once a month — while logged in users makes an average of 11 to 15 searches per log in, which may sound a lot but users in some countries use its service as a potential date directory too). Search4BBM launched its service in June 2011 and crossed the 1M active user mark by mid 2012.
After that point its fortunes dipped, as you’d expect — in step with declining usage of BlackBerry’s own platform. Founder Barak Hirchson tells TechCrunch it was getting about 50% less traffic in 2013 than it did in 2012. In 2011 and 2012 it had between 11M to 14M searches per month, but in 2013 this dropped down to a low of between 2M to 4.5M monthly searches.
However, Hirchson says things have picked up in the past two months — i.e. since BlackBerry liberated BBM from its own walled garden, and allowed it to roam across Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. It’s now seeing 5.5M to 7M searches per month, according to Search4BBM.
“After the BBM launch for iOS and Android we instantly saw the users coming back to use BBM,” he adds.
Search4BBM launched an Android version of its app about a week ago — giving this the practical name of BBM Pin Finder — and says it’s managed to pass 3,000 users (without any marketing/advertising) for this version of the app. It’s expecting to hit 2M new users on Android in the next three months.
iOS and BB10 versions of its apps are also due soon — within “weeks”, adds Hirchson.
If you’re wondering where in the world BBM remains most popular, as measured via searches of this single BBM directory service, the top 10 countries performing searches are as follows:
India – 11%
South Africa – 11%
Nigeria – 9%
Egypt – 8%
United Kingdom – 8%
Indonesia – 8%
United Arab Emirates – 5%
Malaysia – 5%
United States – 5%
Canada – 4%
“In India and Indonesia the users use us as ‘Tinder‘ for BBM,” adds Hirchson. “Most of the users search for friends and for new dating with strangers. They search by ‘location near to me’ sort the users by the gender and age and start meeting new users by BBM.”
Mikael Ricknäs, IDG News Service, 12/4/13
Version 10.2 of the management platform gives IT staff more flexibility when managing iOS and Android-based devices
BlackBerry has upgraded its management platform Enterprise Server 10 (BES10) with more features for managing Android and iOS smartphones and has also improved scalability to lower overall costs.
BlackBerry’s problems are well documented, but the company is soldiering on. On Monday, the company posted an open letter from CEO John Chen that emphasized its renewed focus on the enterprise market.
One of the key products in this effort is BES10, with version 10.2 released on Tuesday. To make it more competitive in a cutthroat sector, BlackBerry has extended its cross-platform support.
Enterprises can now activate iOS and Android-based devices using what the company calls “true BYOD mode,” where management is confined to the Secure Work Space container only. This feature is a good fit for environments where full mobile device management control for iOS and Android devices is not preferred, according to BlackBerry.
Secure Work Space started shipping in June and adds a managed container to protect corporate data and applications. It now works with smartphones running iOS7 and Android 4.3.
Management of iOS and Android devices can also be automated using BlackBerry Web Services (BWS). By exposing BWS APIs, Blackberry will enable others to develop applications that automate and combine various administrative tasks for the management of iOS and Android devices.
BlackBerry has also worked to improve BES scalability: the new version can support 100,000 devices per domain, with any mix of BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices. That reduces the number of servers and resources required for large scale deployments, which, in turn, lowers costs, according to the company.
BlackBerry has also added a self-service portal that allows users to perform device management tasks on their own, which could result in fewer calls to IT. Users can view and manage all their devices, view device details, and set activation passwords, according to BlackBerry.
Morgan Stanley, Boeing, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Secusmart are participating in the early adopter and beta programs, and are running version 10.2 in a test environment, according to BlackBerry.
The argument over which type of code to build our apps in masks the need to update our architecture and provide better analytical tools.
The vitriol spews on a daily basis. HTML5 or native apps? Each side is well armed with arguments and data to prove their points. This fight, destined to go on for a long while, masks some of the real problems that enterprises are facing when it comes to mobile applications. Do you have the right backend architecture for a mobile world? The right business analytics? Enterprises, brands and developers need to put their houses well in order before even beginning to answer what type of code an app will be built in.
HTML5 Or Native? Wrong Question
Most mobile discussions to-date have focused on the explosion in devices and operating systems, and the challenge of building great apps for a multi-platform world. This has given rise to the latest round of techno-religious wars, with the HTML5ers on one side and Nativists on the other.
Lost in all the shouting is a much bigger challenge—in fact, two challenges. First, the traditional Web architecture that undergirds most enterprises is rusting. Mobile is stressing the way these architectures feed data to applications, as well as their mechanisms for performance and scale—the technical equivalent of a bridge collapse waiting to happen.
Second, where the business performance of their mobile app portfolios are concerned, most companies are flying blind. While traditional application portfolios are held to all kinds of return-on-investment measurements, the investment plan for mobile apps (increasingly a more substantive bet) is made by guesswork and dart-throwing.
All Dressed Up With No Data To Show
The standards for middleware and backend data access that defined the Web era don’t work for mobile. The mobile world brings different types and sources of data, different formats and payload sizes, different transaction volumes and usage profiles and the end of connection persistence. “Mobile,” as Forrester Research observes, “is pushing aging Web architectures to the brink.”
Mobile’s first challenge to the old Web world is the expansion and diversification of data sources. Any mobile app worth its salt must orchestrate data not only from private enterprise systems, but also public clouds (e.g. social media), corporate SaaS systems (e.g. Salesforce) and increasingly even smart appliances drawn from the Internet of Things.
But the challenge doesn’t stop there. The regular, anywhere/anytime access habits of mobile users increases transaction volumes through apps, meaning that architectures must scale elastically. Furthermore, because mobile devices can’t count on an uninterrupted connection, the apps must continue to function when offline and gracefully synchronize to the backend when the connection is restored. As the following table shows, virtually every aspect of mobile app connectivity differs from the Web.
To succeed in this new age, companies need mobile-optimized APIs backed by a scalable cloud architecture. Properly designed, these APIs deliver three things:
- Orchestration: the ability to collect data from any data source regardless of where it resides.
- Optimization: boiling down the data set to its essential payload size for consumption by a mobile app. For instance, if a traditional Web API returns 20 fields, the mobile variant might want only five.
- Transformation: converting the data format from legacy styles such as XML or SOAP to a mobile-optimized format such as JSON.
Our own enterprise survey shows that companies are waking up to the challenge. A full 40% rank mobile-optimized APIs as their top investment priority. These APIs, when combined with elastic scale and performance, mark the way to a new standard in enterprise architectures.
App Portfolios: A Big Bet On Lagging Indicators
We live in the Land Of The Device, and in this country the user is king. Don’t like an app? Delete it and find a better one.
For proof of the user’s clout, witness the rise in power of the star system: one-star apps die a quick death, while five-star apps go on to rule the world. But this ranking system is insanely crude. It provides little measurable data for what makes an app good or bad. Is the problem in stability? Performance? Installation? Design?
The crudeness of the star system leaves most enterprises blind when it comes to understanding their mobile apps. Ratings alone won’t deliver true understanding of user preferences (or frustrations), or how the app is being used, or what is the best business decision for the next version.
Not unlike its impacts on data access, mobile is driving the need for app and portfolio measures unlike any we saw in the days of Web. Good mobile analytics must provide insight into both the behavior of the app and the behavior of the user.
Understanding the behaviors of the app is a good start. Crashes, for example, are the kind of app behavior that should trigger an alert. Otherwise there’s not much hope of fixing the problem before users begin to mutiny.
But seeing into app behavior alone isn’t enough. For a complete picture of engagement, we need to understand user behaviors as well. What is the frequency and duration of user engagement? When and where are users most often interacting with the app? On what types of devices & platforms are users engaged with the app? Which features are most popular?
Just as apps are seldom built without some form of requirements, neither should they be launched without measurable usage goals. The analytics above stand as a quantitative, metrics-based strategy for app improvement. This is a chief difference from pre-mobile applications, few of which provided the specificity of usage and context data that mobile apps do.
The HTML5 vs. native debate has been fun, but it’s taking too much oxygen from the bigger issues. Organizations conditioned by legacy Web interpretations of enterprise architecture and portfolio planning are at risk of finding themselves disrupted by mobile-savvy competitors, regardless of their client-side technology choice. This is for a simple reason. Mobile signals nothing less than the rise of a post-Web world.
Guest author Nolan Wright is the CTO of Appcelerator.
The Next Web, 12/2/13
Jolla was founded by a group of ex-Nokia employees who strongly believed that MeeGo deserved a second chance. Two years on, the Finish startup is launching its first smartphone with a new take on the forgotten platform, called Sailfish OS.
I went hands-on with an early version of the Jolla smartphone in June and came away feeling curious, but unconvinced by the execution. Today, I was able to examine a final build of the device and see if my earlier reservations were unfounded. Can a reinvigorated MeeGo compete with Windows Phone, Firefox OS and Tizen for third place in the smartphone market?
The Jolla smartphone is dense, compact and regimented. From afar, the two-part design gives the device a thick, slightly bulbous look, but it’s actually less than 10mm thick and in the hand, it feels surprisingly slim.
The 4.5-inch display is the focal point of the handet. Aside from the power button and volume rocker, the device is devoid of any hardware buttons. This gives the front of the Jolla smartphone a clean, minimalist look whenever you lay it down on a flat surface.
As soon as you turn the device over, the scrappy startup’s design aspirations are apparent. Every Jolla smartphone comes in a reserved matte black on the front, but the back cover is available in a range of colors including red, teal and navy blue. These two halves were designed specifically to contrast with one another: The front panel is flat along the top but rounded on the sides, while the back is precisely the opposite. They clash in a way that we haven’t seen in a smartphone before: It’s an unfamiliar look, but one that slowly grew on me.
Two small speaker grilles lie on the bottom of the handset, alongside a standard headphone jack and microUSB port up top. Jolla has etched its rather beautiful logo on the top of the device and on the standard rear back covers, but otherwise there is very little branding or blemishes on the device.
Jolla has opted for a brave, memorable design here, but it’s not the most attractive or premium smartphone on the market. The first Sailfish OS smartphone is certainly distinct and different, but that doesn’t mean it’s any better than what’s already out there.
The ‘Other Half’
Jolla is pushing the idea of a smartphone formed from two different halves. Each removable back cover is light and flimsy, but through an NFC chip it can be used to activate specific content normally dormant on the device or the Jolla Store. The company’s own offerings tweak the look of the UI to match the color of the cover, creating a harmonious design between software and hardware.
The hope is that third-party brands will create their own covers, which consumers can then buy to unlock new content from within the Jolla store, including apps, wallpapers, fonts and sounds. Barcelona Football Club, for example, could offer a background image of the team and a well-known chant or anthem as the ringtone.
The startup also hinted that these covers could be used to add new hardware features. Throughout my fairly brief testing period, I was able to use a few of Jolla’s self-produced covers, but the scope and ambition of the concept is evident. These covers are yet to be used in a truly meaningful way, but that could change once third-parties start experimenting with the device.
For the most part, the design of Sailfish OS remains unchanged since I last saw the Jolla smartphone. The power button or a concise double-tap on the screen wakes the device, revealing a lock screen with the time, your recent notifications, connectivity and sound profile.
None of these icons are actionable though. It’s a static visualization, so to find any of your emails, text messages or Facebook alerts, you’ll need to dig a little deeper into the UI of the Jolla smartphone. Pulling down from the top of the screen reveals a pulley menu with quick actions based on where you are within Sailfish OS. For the lock screen, this includes quick access to the camera, the contacts in your address book and system settings.
Sailfish OS is constructed using a vertical UI though, rather than the horizontal design that most of us have grown accustomed to on Android and iOS. It’s no less intuitive than these platforms, but it’s certainly different. After waking the device, a swipe up reveals the home screen with an app dock and app switcher.
It’s a three-by-three grid that offers a small preview of the nine most recently used apps. An immediate concern is that as soon as you boot a tenth app, the ninth will immediately disappear from the switcher. Most days, I’m rarely using more than nine apps simultaneously, but the cap is certainly notable. There is a workaround though: When you long-press to close a piece of software, the device will show all of the apps that are currently running on the device.
Tapping on the thumbnail once will launch the app, but with a long-press you can also slide to the left or right to access one of two shortcuts. The address book app, for instance, lets you jump to either the dialer or your list of contacts.
Swiping up from the home screen reveals the app drawer. Immediately, you’re hit by the quality of the app icons. They’re bright and beautiful, with an unusual cuboid shape that Jolla has rounded off at two opposing corners. Hands down, I think these designs are better than the stock offerings on iOS and Android.
Unfortunately, the handset that I used was plagued with technical issues. The Jolla team warned us of a few known bugs going in, but there were a number of unforeseen problems. Apps would crash, stutter or launch randomly, and many of the gestures didn’t behave as expected. Even if a small percentage of these problems make their way into the retail version, I suspect Jolla’s customer support team is going to have their work cut out.
Unlike iOS and Android, you can swipe up from the bottom of the display to access the Sailfish OS notification center, known as Events. Tapping on the alert will send you to the app in question, while a long-press will dismiss it from your list. Deleting notifications in this fashion is a little slow, especially in comparison to the fantastic swipe-to-dismiss gestures found in Android.
Android smartphones have a reputation for sub-par cameras, so Jolla had the opportunity to differentiate with its first smartphone.
The handset is equipped with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, but sadly it produces some pretty underwhelming images. Files are recorded with an unacceptable amount of noise, even in optimal lighting conditions.
The camera app is fairly intuitive, with limited white balance, focusing and flash options from a pull-down at the top of the screen. Experimenting with these tools can offer some small improvements, but it’s not enough to rectify the underlying problems.
Jolla offers some basic Sailfish OS apps covering email, maps, notes, calendar appointments and more. The Jolla Store is almost empty though, with few high-profile names aside from Wikipedia.
The saviour is Android. Once you’ve downloaded the relevant app from Jolla’s marketplace, the Yandex Store will be added to the device and you can download a number of apps that support Android 4.2. These reside in the app drawer and are integrated with the home screen app switcher, just like any other piece of Sailfish OS software.
Android and Sailfish OS have a different design language, so using apps conceived for Google’s mobile operating system can be pretty jarring sometimes. Nevertheless, it’s a welcome solution for the app support problem.
BlackBerry and Windows Phone have struggled to boost their native app offerings, however if Jolla can keep up with Google’s firmware updates, it might be able to avoid that problem entirely. Unlike BlackBerry 10, Android feels like an embedded part of the Sailfish OS experience. Access to the Google Play store would have been ideal, but the Yandex Store is a serviceable alternative.
The bottom line
The Jolla smartphone is certainly unique. The styling of the hardware is unusual and the gesture-based Sailfish OS is intriguing. I enjoyed my time with the device, but I’m still not sure who this handset is for.
If you’re not happy with iOS, Android or Windows Phone, the Jolla smartphone is worth looking at. But how many people feel that way? Power users and tech aficionados perhaps, but my gut feeling is that most consumers will be satisfied with one of those three platforms.
It’s too early to make a final judgement on the Jolla smartphone, but it surprised me in ways that I didn’t expect. A flawed, but unashamedly atypical device.
Serdar Yegulalp, InfoWorld, 12/2/13
Jolla smartphone uses an OS based on the Nokia’s former MeeGo project and will be sold in 135 countries
Just what the world needs — another smartphone platform. From Nokia, no less.
For two years now, Jolla, a crew of ex-Nokia engineers based in both Finland and Hong Kong, has been working on a smartphone powered by Sailfish, a variant of Nokia’s previously abandoned, Linux-based MeeGo OS. Now the first Jolla phone is ready to ship and will go on sale tonight in Finland (pre-orders were €399), with many other territories to follow afterward.
Not much is known about the phone yet, other than that it uses a dual-core processor, sports 16GB of memory and a spare SD card slot, and eschews buttons (save for possibly a volume rocker) in favor of a gesture-based UI. As for Sailfish, it’s billed as an “independent, open, partner-friendly” mobile OS that uses the Mer project (itself derived from the earlier MeeGo) for its UI.
It’s going to be tough, to say the least, for the Jolla and for Sailfish to make a dent in the smartphone market. But the Jolla, and Sailfish itself, have a feature that may give it a slight edge: Sailfish runs existing Android apps via a third-party runtime. Apps for Sailfish can be built either using the native Qt interface (Qt itself being a former Nokia property) or via HTML5. The Sailfish folks claim to be looking into compatibility with Firefox OS APIs as well.
It’s a wise move to allow Sailfish to be compatible with at least one of the existing phone-app ecosystems, given that Nokia has tried and failed before to make MeeGo into a workable platform. The Nokia N9 phone was released in 2011 but made no detectable splash in the marketplace — and that was right on the heels of Nokia deciding to use Windows Phone as its platform of choice.
Analyst Geoff Blaber, when interviewed by the BBC about Jolla and Sailfish, theorized that Jolla’s long-term strategy was to create a phone platform that could be licensed out to other manufacturers. It’s an approach similar to what Mozilla is attempting to do with Firefox OS, with the big differentiators being Sailfish’s (and Firefox OS’s) alleged greater openness over Android.
InfoWorld’s Simon Phipps has written before about how Nokia and BlackBerry could have been major competition for Apple had they embraced more open ecosystems. It’s unlikely Jolla and Sailfish will make much of a dent in a marketplace already ruled by Android, despite Sailfish’s Android compatibility. But given how much ex-Nokia talent is bound up in this project, it’ll be worth watching just to see how their approach unfolds and whether it’ll become its own animal or just another way to run Android.