Finland’s Jolla finally launched its smartphone late last week in Helsinki. The device uses an operating system called Sailfish OS, which is derived from Intel and Nokia’s old MeeGo OS.
Happily, friend of Gigaom Christian Lindholm was on hand to take some snaps of the occasion.
Much of the Jolla team used to be with Nokia, before then-CEO Stephen Elop decided the firm should switch to Windows Phone as its high-end platform. At that point, the Linux-based MeeGo went out the window.
Jolla had a fairly tumultuous beginning — it’s already on its third CEO and early promises of big sales deals in China haven’t come to anything. The smartphone was launched on Thursday in conjunction with Finnish carrier DNA, which set up a one-night-only pop-up store. Thousands of customers also pre-ordered the device, which can run Android apps, online.
Apart from offering a heavily gesture-based user interface, the Jolla smartphone is also notable for its “other half” approach — the device can use a range of “smart covers” that can theoretically include new functionality, such as a physical keyboard.
Early reviews of the smartphone suggest it is well-designed from a hardware standpoint and admirably unique, but not sufficiently refined yet. The Verge said the interface was “highly unintuitive and unwieldy to the point where the entire UI paradigm can be considered broken,” and Engadget suggested “perhaps mixing in some more traditional UI elements.”