Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 30th Jan 2014 17:44 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless In October 2011, with the writing on the wall after Nokia switched to Windows Phone and closed the long-running MeeGo project, several former Maemo Nokians left the company ("Nokia was a coward"). With support from their old employer through the Nokia Bridge program, but without any access to Nokia's intellectual property or patents, the new company - called Jolla - continued the work that spawned the legendary N9, only able to use the open source parts of that phone's software.

Late 2013, their work culminated in Sailfish, running on their own smartphone, the Jolla. In a way, this device and its software has been in the making since 2004-2005, and considering the rocky roads and many challenges these people had to overcome between then and now, the phone sometimes seems to radiate defiance and determination.

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by Kivada on Thu 30th Jan 2014 17:56 UTC
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Now if I can just get a Neo900 running Sailfish...

Reply Score: 4

by hobgoblin on Thu 30th Jan 2014 19:13 UTC
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OSNews may well be one of the few tech sites i know that can mention the Nokia Internet Tablets without a followup "what's that?".

Ever so often i ponder reflashing my N800, as right now it rests in a drawer with a messed up FS.

Reply Score: 3

by cdude on Thu 30th Jan 2014 19:50 UTC
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Great review. The conclusion matches to my experience with that beautiful device.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Thu 30th Jan 2014 20:28 UTC
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early adopters also received a limited edition backplate in an orange-red colour, with "The First One" written on it. The orange-red colour is very striking

Some Jolla users called that bright color "screaming lifejacket orange" to highlight the connection to marine theme which is common in Jolla.

Edited 2014-01-30 20:30 UTC

Reply Score: 2

thanks for the review
by dizmal on Thu 30th Jan 2014 20:29 UTC
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i haven't oredered my jolla yet because i wanted to read a trusted review first. Sure the main reason i got interested with this phone is purely ideological (F/LOSS and what not) but i want a phone i can use and even enjoy using.

Reading your review reassure me that this is the phone for me.

Reply Score: 7

Clarification: USB mount
by drcouzelis on Thu 30th Jan 2014 20:33 UTC
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you don't need any special software to manage your device from a computer. Plug the USB cable in, and it'll be mounted as a regular USB drive. You can drag and drop your stuff to it just like you can to any other USB drive.

The Jolla Mobila does not mount as a mass storage device. Instead, it uses MTP (like Android). The reasons are explained here:

Sounds like a good decision to me. So if you use Windows I think it will automatically mount as if it was a USB drive, if you use Mac OS X I don't think there's ANY way to mount it currently, and if you use Linux... well, anything's possible in Linux. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Clarification: USB mount
by Morgan on Thu 30th Jan 2014 21:20 UTC in reply to "Clarification: USB mount"
Morgan Member since:

Linux has had MTP support via libmtp for a while now. I've used it on Arch, Slackware, and Debian. I think the GNOME DE supports it natively too.

One drawback to MTP versus USB mass storage is that you can only perform one file operation at a time. You can queue them, but don't expect fast, parallel transfers.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Clarification: USB mount
by shmerl on Thu 30th Jan 2014 22:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Clarification: USB mount"
shmerl Member since:

Besides MTP you can expose shares using CIFS, NFS or other similar remote filesystems, as long as Linux supports them.

Edited 2014-01-30 22:06 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Clarification: USB mount
by Kalessin on Thu 30th Jan 2014 23:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Clarification: USB mount"
Kalessin Member since:

There are several Linux solutions for dealing with MTP (the Arch wiki currently has 8 different solutions listed on its MTP page: ), but unfortunately, my experience with them all with my Galaxy S4 was quite poor. They kept dropping the connection, and for some reason, they kept connecting to the wrong drive (I'd tell them to connect to the external SD card, and they'd claim that they did, but they were actually interacting with the internal SD card), thought maybe that's an issue specific to my phone.

In the end, I found it much easier to install an FTP server on my phone than deal with MTP (since unlike MTP, it actually worked), but my final solution was to use bittorrent sync so that I could manipulate files on my desktop and have the ones on the phone update automatically (not to mention, you get a backup of the phone's data that way).

So, while it might have something to do with my specific phone, I have nothing but bad things to say about MTP, and I sorely miss how I could mount my phone as a USB drive on older versions of Android. Though bittorrent sync is a pretty cool solution, since it allows me to manipulate files on my desktop without even plugging my phone into anything.

Reply Score: 8

RE[3]: Clarification: USB mount
by shmerl on Fri 31st Jan 2014 00:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Clarification: USB mount"
shmerl Member since:

Any remote filesystem can work through WiFi as well, so there is no need to plug anything in the USB.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Clarification: USB mount
by hobgoblin on Fri 31st Jan 2014 20:14 UTC in reply to "Clarification: USB mount"
hobgoblin Member since:

I really wish that USB would adopt OBEX for its non-block based file transfer. Works like a charm across Bluetooth.

Reply Score: 2

by Verenkeitin on Thu 30th Jan 2014 20:55 UTC
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Good review. Here's my two cents.

The code on the box has a //TODO comment near the top edge. I think its fitting for a product that is essentially a very good beta.

The stock browser's navigation bar seems jump up when you scroll down, but there may be more complex logic there.

Reply Score: 2

N810, N950
by tomz on Fri 31st Jan 2014 01:11 UTC
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I still have my wimax n810, as well as the ordinary one (the orange-black theme works well with my harley).

But you missed the best phone ever made - the N950 which is the N9 plus real keyboard.

Onscreen keyboards suck. Even for tablets. Either you will hit the wrong key or they take up so much space that you have fewer pixels than the original Palm left over.

Reply Score: 1

RE: N810, N950
by No it isnt on Fri 31st Jan 2014 16:08 UTC in reply to "N810, N950"
No it isnt Member since:

You forgot the main reason why on-screen keyboards suck: you can't rest your fingers on the them, feeling your way to the right key. There's no tactile guidance, only a feedback that says, essentially: "Haha! You just touched a key! (You dumb fuck.)" Some people consider touchscreen keyboards the future.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: N810, N950
by hobgoblin on Fri 31st Jan 2014 20:22 UTC in reply to "RE: N810, N950"
hobgoblin Member since:

Something like the pressure sensor Microsoft have on one of their surface keyboards, combined with some advancements in tactile feedback (variable texture by way of electrical fields or vibrations perhaps), may provide a future for onscreen keyboards.

But the keyboard issue is why i am keeping and eye out for someone taking the "second half" concept further.

Another option would be for someone to come up with a generic clip on bluetooth keyboard.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ddc_
by ddc_ on Fri 31st Jan 2014 02:08 UTC
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Nice review, now I want to buy this phone even more. I have an off-topic comment though - the text renders in wrong encoding for me. I've checked the page source, and it specificly sets ISO8859-1 via <meta> tag. Provided that all material from OSNews is encoded with UTF-8, may this tag be eliminated, or at least right encoding be set?

Reply Score: 2

Mili-amp-hours are meaningless
by saso on Fri 31st Jan 2014 03:18 UTC
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Nice article, but there's one thing in it that gets on my nerves:

Just to put all this in perspective, the Jolla phone has a 2100mAh battery, the Galaxy S4 has 2600mAh, and the iPhone 5S has a 1558mAh battery. It could be that the iPhone could achieve similar battery life as the Jolla if it had a 2100mAh battery, but that's something I'll leave to the experts. For now, all you need to know is that the Jolla has amazing battery life, and that its true multitasking does not seem to affect it all that much.

I see this happen in articles all around the web, and that's that for some reason, technically minded journalists seem happy to quote battery capacity using mili-amp-hours. Amp-hours are not a measure of capacity, unless you also quote the voltage that this is delivered at. Use watt-hours (or joules for extra scientific street cred).
For instance, the Nissan Leaf's battery is ~60Ah - does that mean that it is only ~30x the capacity of the battery on Jolla's smartphone (~2Ah)? Hell no. Your average phone battery runs at roughly 3.6V, whereas the Leaf battery runs at 360V, so the actual difference in capacity is around 3000x!
Stop quoting meaningless numbers and trying to make points off of them. The conclusions you drew in that quote above are entirely unsupported by the numbers you provided.

Reply Score: 9

twitterfire Member since:

Energy is measured in joules, electron volts, calories or watt-hours.

Electrical energy is measured in watt-hours. Ampere-hours are meaningless when it comes to energy.

Reply Score: 3

Thank you Thom
by masennus on Fri 31st Jan 2014 07:14 UTC
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I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to write this excellent review. Now I really, really want a Jolla! But how could I ever part with my N9! Oh how we are blessed by the riches of choice available to us in this time.

Reply Score: 3

Good read...
by Dryhte on Fri 31st Jan 2014 07:23 UTC
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Good read, Thom... but it's 'elusive' not 'illusive'.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Good read...
by ukki on Fri 31st Jan 2014 10:24 UTC in reply to "Good read..."
ukki Member since:

Also 770 isn't part of the N-series so it's just Nokia 770.

Reply Score: 2

by pandronic on Fri 31st Jan 2014 12:41 UTC
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Good review, I really hope it takes off. I'm sorry I don't have the spare cash to get one, but I might consider it for my next smartphone in a year or two if things keep improving on the software side.

Reply Score: 4

by ebasconp on Fri 31st Jan 2014 17:20 UTC
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Thanks Thom because your pretty good review.

I want a Jolla phone now! ;)

Reply Score: 3

Excellent review
by jfebrer on Fri 31st Jan 2014 20:05 UTC
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Thanks Thom for your great review, your words describe exaclty my feelings using Jolla.
I just installed the January upgrade and it fixes some issues you described, especially with the browser and landscape gestures among other things that I still have to test.
I didn't use much Android apps because there are some very good native alternatives nowadays, but my experience isn't as bad as you describe it, in fact, I didn't remember any big issues. I think the Android support improved a lot with the last December update.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Excellent review
by cdude on Sat 1st Feb 2014 09:34 UTC in reply to "Excellent review"
cdude Member since:

Android apps work fine, in most cases. Good enough but they do so on Android phones too. Not a selling point and not why people buy in I think. Its just nice, an extra that allows to bypass any concern that required app X does not exist for that device. Still, Android apps miss what all the native ones have. Like ambience, pulley, following design and workflow concepts. Being part of the whole OS rather then something that just runs there. I think thats his point. He, like many of us, like that smartphone for its refreshing look and feel and Android apps do not follow there, are counter-productive from that angle of view. Still very useful for app X and great to have it when needed.

Edited 2014-02-01 09:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

has some similarities to bb10
by vezhlys on Sat 1st Feb 2014 11:36 UTC
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When I saw sailfish presentations it reminded me BB10 which I am using right now. It also uses swipes only. Though, sailfish probably has more swipes when bb10 and you need more time to accustomize to them. I eager to try it but currently it is difficult to buy jolla phone for me. And I have my z10 for a less than a year. So probably I'll try to switch to sailfish only after a year or maybe even later.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by jovii
by jovii on Sat 1st Feb 2014 12:18 UTC
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I had to register a new account just to share my thoughts.

I have to disagree on stability. Jolla has been the most stable phone i have ever used(samsung, nexus, iphone, nokia...). In the two weeks since getting my Jolla I've had exactly 0 crashes.

Keyboard is way better then both iphone and android. I just seem to hit the right keys most of the time.

The stock browser does need a lot of work, tabs not working is a huge problem. Minor bugs like not being able to scroll this commenting textbox is frustrating. Landscape browsing has been fixed in the latest update.

Over all Jolla has been a joy to use. Obviously the software is not as mature as other oses out there but the potential is enormous.

Reply Score: 2

This. This is why i read OS News
by dgoemans on Sun 2nd Feb 2014 11:58 UTC
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This is a classic Thom article, and is exactly what keeps me subscribing to the OS News' RSS feed. Perfect balance between Thom's slightly blunt, sarcastic style, and incredibly insightful, well researched information. The back story, the details, everything. Although the editing could be a bit better ( i noticed a form instead of from, and a few other small things ), apart from that modern tech journalism could learn from articles like this. Thanks Thom!

Reply Score: 2