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Sailfish released

Jolla has released its latest big update for Sailfish today, the fourth big update since the first release early December. It's got a whole boatload of improvements and fixes - the most important of which, to me at least, are two-way Google Calendar sync and landscape mode for email, messages, and notes. I'm also hoping for actually working sync for Gmail (read my review for more on that). Other improvements include lots of UI fixes, lots of new settings for the camera, improved Exchange ActiveSync support, and lots more.

The update is rolling out to all Jolla phones as we speak.

Sailfish 1.0 demonstration at MWC

Jolla has been keeping their OS in beta testing program since November last year when they have finally released their device ahead of schedule. Since then we have seen 4 updates hitting our devices each month naturally and it's something we have not seen from any other manufacturer other than Jolla.

And now here we are with the Sailfish 1.0 which will be released in about a week after this video was published.

Nice detailed video about all the new stuff in the first non-beta release, Sailfish 1.0. It'll be released next week.

Sailfish hits 1.0, to be released for Android devices

Jolla, the Finnish smartphone and Sailfish OS developer, today announced that Jolla's mobile operating system Sailfish OS has reached release 1.0 and is now ready for global distribution. Jolla is also introducing availability of the Sailfish OS experience as downloadable software to devices running Android OS.

A major milestone for the young company. The fourth big update to Sailfish OS will be released early March, at which point the operating system leaves beta and hits 1.0. This fourth update will further improve landscape supports, include visual changes, new camera functionality, and more.

On top of that, Sailfish will be made available for popular Android devices as well, so that you no longer need to buy a Jolla phone in order to use the operating system. Furthermore - and I did not see this one coming - they will release a Sailfish launcher for Android that brings some of the operating system's unique features to Android.

These men and women are on a roll.

What’s behind the Sailfish browser?

Jolla has released their Sialfish browser as open source, so it seems like a good moment to dive into the lower levels of their Gecko-based browser.

In this post I'd like to shade some light on what technology is used in the browser application for Sailfish OS.

By now it's a widely known fact that the browser is based on the Gecko engine which is developed by Mozilla corp. and is used in their Firefox browser and Firefox OS. For some reason it's not that known that the Sailfish browser is built upon the EmbedLite embedding API (also known as IPCLiteAPI) for Gecko.

This embedding API started as a research project in Nokia by Oleg Romashin and Andrey Petrov at the times when Nokia was still developing the Maemo platform. Currently the project is maintained by Tatiana Meshkova.

Sailfish released

In my review of Jolla and Sailfish, one of my biggest issues was the rather lacklustre browser, which didn't support landscape mode. Yesterday, Jolla released the January update for their operating system, version, which includes many small new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements, but most of all, it has vastly improved landscape support.

Half of the screen no longer turns blank when opening the keyboard in landscape mode, and support for it has been added to the default browser - which suddenly becomes a whole lot more useful, since browsing the web without landscape mode was a major pain in the butt. Jolla has also implemented full gesture support in landscape mode; before this update, gestures would not rotate with the screen orientation, but now they do.

The update contains a lot more improvements, and as promised, it was delivered in January. In addition, The New York Times has an article about Jolla as well. Not a lot of new information for those of us keeping up with all this stuff, but it's interesting to see major news outlets talking about Jolla.

Sailfish updated yet again

Jolla promised another big bugfix update before the year was over, and they delivered. Version brings a whole boatload of bugfixes and stability improvements, but also brings in a few new features - such as one-way Google Calendar synchronization, camera support for Android applications, and a few more. Bigger new features are expected to arrive in January.

The update rollout itself was a bit of a disaster - the servers became overloaded (at least, that's what it looked like), so many people couldn't download the update, or would have the download hang halfway through. As far as I know, the update seems to be rolling out fine now, but having this process go wrong when the userbase is as small as it is means they've got some work to do on this one.

In the meantime, Christmas was packed with gifts for Sailfish users when it comes to applications. For instance, Sailfish has its own, native WhatsApp client now - and it works perfectly, and looks great. There's also a video player, and a native Facebook client - Friends - is getting daily updates. Then there's TinyWebBrowser; started out as a test project, but is already getting more useful than the stock browser, mostly because it supports landscape (a feature the stock browser will supposedly get in January).

All in all, the rate of new applications, new versions to existing applications, and operating system updates is all very promising, especially if you take into the account the very small userbase (I would guess several thousands at this point). Let's hope they can keep it up. For what it's worth - thanks to the new applications, I already uninstalled the Android compatibility stuff from my Jolla.

Sailfish gets its second update today

We just discovered an issue in both and today which causes update of the store token required for accessing store repositories to fail. A fix for that has been pushed a few minutes ago: The update to version you might be seeing on your device soon contains exactly this one fix to keep store access working.

My Jolla arrived this morning, and I've been playing with it all day. It is by far the most exciting device and operating system I've used in a long, long time. When it arrived, the first update to the operating system was already waiting for me to be installed - and only a few hours later, another update is hitting the device. They have promised another large bugfix and stability update before the end of the year, with updates with new features arriving early next year.

These men and women know what they're doing. They're not overselling, and they keep their promises. A very promising start.

Sailfish ported to N9; first Sailfish update detailed

While my Jolla still hasn't shipped, the community isn't sitting still at all. Sailfish has already been ported to Jolla's spiritual predecessor - yes, the Nokia N9 can now run Sailfish OS. The beautify of it all is that you don't even need to remove Harmattan, since it can dual-boot. It's relatively complete too, since GPS, A-GPS, Bluetooth, wifi and 'Calling Functions' are already working.

In addition, Sailfish' first update, version has been detailed in its changelog - it's mostly a bugfix and stability release. So, when the pre-order devices arrive at our doorsteps, we'll have a software update waiting

Sailfish runs Android applications, runs on Android devices

Users enjoying the unique gesture-based and modern Sailfish OS user experience will be able to take full advantage of the Android application ecosystem available through various app stores globally. Jolla will cooperate with leading global app stores to ensure users can seamlessly download Android apps just as they would do on any Android device.

Android applications, unaltered. Sounds great as a stopgap, but there's always the integration issue (will they make use of, say, Sailfish OS-native notifications and gestures?), and it may hinder the development of native applications. I'm curious to see how well it works.

Jolla has made a major breakthrough in Android hardware compatibility by developing Sailfish OS to run on common hardware produced for Android, particularly smartphones and tablets. Vendors interested to utilize Sailfish OS are now able to develop phones and tablets based on many different chipset and hardware configurations. This new level of compatibility will enable device vendors who use Sailfish OS to fully utilize the existing Android hardware ecosystem.

This is great news. This means that Sailfish OS will become available for popular Android phones, which will surely generate needed enthusiasm among people like us who read OSNews. Of course, the Jolla smartphone (mine's on pre-order, and I cannot wait) will be the optimal device for Sailfish, but this at least gives those who are interested the option to try Sailfish out before plonking down cash for an actual Sailfish device.

Jolla Sailfish OS: software tour

"Originally stemming from MeeGo, birthed under Nokia's watch, Sailfish has since gone its own way and is maturing into a mobile platform getting ready for launch. This week at the Mobile World Congress, we tracked down Jolla and Mosconi again, getting the opportunity in the process to check out a live Sailfish demo. We check out how notifications work, look at the Sailfish take on a status bar, and get to see the media player with all its gesture support." By far the most unique and interesting of the alternative mobile platforms. Very fancy.

The Nokia N900: the future that wasn’t

In what seems like several lifetimes ago, the mobile devices market seemed like it would be wide open. Even as the window for platforms that weren’t Android or iOS was closing rapidly, we were all hoping we wouldn’t end up with another duopoly. While there were several contenders – BlackBerryos 10, Windows Phone, to name a few – quite a few more nerdy mobile device users held out hope that instead of neutered, restrictive, and limited operating systems, we’d end up with a true computer in our pocket. No other device represented this slice of the market better than the Nokia N900. The N900 was the last standard Linux mobile device from Nokia, the last in the line of the N770, N800, and N810 internet communicators. The N900 was the first to include mobile phone functionality, making it the first Linux mobile phone device from Nokia, but not the last – the N950 and N9 would follow, but those were markedly different, more Android and iOS than standard Linux. The N900 ran Maemo, Nokia’s Linux platform for mobile devices, developed in collaboration with and/or using many popular open source Linux projects, like the Linux kernel (obviously), Debian, Gtk, GNOME, Qt, and more. Maemo’s user interface used the Matchbox window manager, and its application framework was Hildon. Underneath the Gtk+ user interface, Maemo was a remarkably standard Linux distribution, based on Debian, so you had easy access to all the usual Linux and Debian command line tools. It used APT for package management and software installation, BusyBox as the replacement for the GNU Core Utilities, and the X window manager. Still, despite its heavy focus on open source software, certain parts of the software stack were still closed source, like some code related to power management, as well as certain bits and bobs of the user interface, like a few status applets. This “mostly open source, but with some closed bits and bobs” would be a running theme into the future branches of the platform, like Sailfish and MeeGo. The hardware of the N900 is a case of throwing everything humanly possible into a single device, but to keep costs down, it mostly consists of cheaper parts. For example, the 800×480 resolution looks crisp on the 3.5″ display, but despite being released almost two years after the iPhone, the touch screen is resistive and requires a stylus. The SoC is a Texas Instruments OMAP3430, with a single core running at 600Mhz, supported by a 430 MHz C64x+ DSP and a PowerVR SGX530 GPU. You’ve got 256MB of RAM, 256MB of NAND flash, and 32GB of eMMC flash. The star of the show, of course, is the slide-out keyboard. It’s a full QWERTY keyboard that’s reasonably comfortable to type on considering its small size, and anyone who has ever used a Symbian device with a keyboard will feel right at home. It’s got a little kick stand, stereo speakers, and TV-out functionality through a special dongle and cable. Seeing Maemo 5 output to a giant 55″ 4K TV is a special kind of entertaining. Add to this the various standard things like WiFi, Bluetooth, a headphone jack, removable battery, rear and front camera, a dedicated camera button, and probably a few other features I’m forgetting. The N900 comes packed. Users of the N900 when it was new were a special kind of people. One of them was my brother – he was a die-hard N900 user for many years, so much so he bought a spare N900 in case his main one died. It wasn’t until the N900 really couldn’t keep up with modernity anymore – well past that point, honestly, but let’s not hurt his feelings – that he begrudgingly decided to switch over to an Android phone. He gifted one N900 to me for my collection. The N900 is a special kind of device that, while a footnote in mobile history, holds a special place in the hearts of a dedicated group of users who nobody is serving any more. These people wanted a proper mini-computer in their pocket, preferably running Linux, and the N900 was the only device that properly fit that niche. Its sort-of successors – the N9 and Jolla Phone, which I both have as well – simply do not fill that niche and do not scratch that itch. Today, most N900 users have probably migrated on to Android (and a few stragglers to Sailfish, I’m guessing), leaving behind the standard, regular Linux installation for the bastardised, weird Linux offshoot from Google. While you can install BusyBox on Android and unlock the bootloader and sort-of create an approximation of a standard Linux computer in your pocket – without the keyboard, without the more standard stacks and toolchains, it’s just not the same. There is still some hope for fans of the N900 – and other people who want a true Linux computer in their pocket – since there are two companies that sort-of cater to this niche. First, there’s F(x)tec, which probably comes closest with its line of smartphones with a slide-out keyboard. They currently offer a very cool device up for pre-order that’s capable of running Android, Sailfish, Ubuntu Touch, and standard ARM Linux distributions as well. I’ve been trying to get into touch with them for a review unit, but they have not responded (we’re small, after all). Another option that requires a bit more squinting are some of the very tiny laptops made by GPD – such as the GPD Pocket 2 and similar devices they make. They’re not quite the same as the F(x)tec or N900, but you can get quite close. GPD, too, has not responded to review requests, but again – we’re small, and if you can send stuff to outlets like Linus Tech Tips, OSNews simply isn’t on your radar. I’m genuinely sad that the N-line was yet another victim of Nokia’s endless mismanagement, since the N900 is simply a unique, one-of-a-kind device in a category virtually nobody even dares tip

Huawei in talks to install the Russian operating system, Aurora, on 360,000 tablets

On paper, the reason for installing Aurora on the tablets is for carrying out Russia’s population consensus in 2020. A Huawei spokesperson confirmed that the company is currently holding talks with the Russian Ministry of Communications. Two sources at Reuters specified, “Huawei is interested in the project. It showed samples of tablets that could be used,” and, “This is a pilot project. We see it as the first stage of launching the Russian OS on Huawei devices.” Aurora is a Russia-specific version of Sailfish OS.

Bill Gates on making “one of the greatest mistakes of all time”

Bill Gates, in an interview for some venture capital firm’s event: You know, in the software world, in particular for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets. So, you know, the greatest mistake ever is the whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is, Android is the standard non-Apple phone form platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win. It really is winner take all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90% as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom. There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system, and what’s that worth? $400 billion that would be transferred from company G to company M . It really sucks that consumer technology platforms always seem to settle on only two platforms, with everything else relegated to the sidelines. Windows Phone, Sailfish, webOS, and others all had great ideas that just don’t get a fair chance in the market, and from both a consumer’s and an enthusiast’s perspective, that is such a shame.

Sailifish 3.0.0 released to early access

Sailfish 3 now fully packetizes the offering for multitude of corporate and governmental solutions. In line with the regional licensing strategy, Sailfish 3 has a deeper level of security making it a solid option for various corporate and organizational solutions, and other use cases. In addition to the security and corporate features there are many user experience highlights for Sailfish 3.0.0. Sailfish 3 brings the new Top Menu, giving you quick access to lots of functions with a single swipe. The new Light Ambiences will show you your device in a whole different light. SD card support has been improved with better formatting and encryption, and you can use external storage through USB On-The-Go. Also in this release we have quick keyboard layout switching, a dedicated Gallery folder for screenshots and Xperia XA2 support for Sailfish X. Finally, there are system-wide speed improvements: both the new app launch and in-app page opening paths are considerably quicker now. Things load faster.

It's a pretty massive release, but since I doubt much has changed on the applications and third party developer support fronts, I have a hard time seeing any value in dedicating effort into updating and using my Jolla phone and tablet to give the platform yet another chance. Still, good to see they're still going strong.