Jolla, the Finnish startup behind the upcoming Sailfish open source mobile OS, has taken a big step in its bid to become more attractive to developers and smartphone enthusiasts. The company has launched SDK installers for the Sailfish OS to encourage developers to get started on development of native apps for the platform.
Jolla's offering is in the form of graphical installers for Windows, OS X and Linux for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The SDK was released back in February during the Mobile World Congress, where Jolla was involved in a presentation for potential carrier and OEM partners. But the release of an installer means Jolla is even making things easier for developers working on all platforms.
The SailfishOS was shown off late last year
At the moment, the Finnish company, made up of several former Nokia engineers, plans to license out its slick-looking OS to other device makers. They are encouraging the creation of customised, branded versions of the software for third parties, just like Samsung has done with TouchWiz for Android or HTC with Sense.
However, just like Google, Jolla will have a Nexus-like hardware series running Sailfish as it was deemed to be. Currently, Sailfish is still nascent, but there is baked-in support for Android, Qt and HTML5 apps. However, it is clear that Jolla wants to build an arsenal of native apps before the touted launch later this year. Native apps will take full advantage of the Sailfish features and will go a long way towards building a full-fledged ecosystem, rather than piggy-backing on existing Android apps.
The Sailfish UI's big focus is on multi-tasking without jumping in and out of apps. As is becoming the norm nowadays, there is also a big emphasis on gestures for navigation and selection of content. From the demos that we have seen so far, the company wants to focus more on one-handed interaction with the device than anything else. Currently running apps show up as interactive tiles on the home screen. Unlike Windows Phone 8, these tiles do not just show you glance-able information, but act as the first gateway into the apps. Users can perform any number of functions in the apps, without actually entering them.
While the first Jolla smartphone will not be seen any time before Q3 of this year, Jolla's chief Marc Dillon recently told TechCrunch that “second half” of 2013 is his target. “We’re starting in China, then we’re going to Finland, then we’re going to penetrate into Europe. At some point as we move along I’m sure we’ll go into the US market but it’s not one of our first starts,” he said. In that report, Dillon also mentions that while there's no estimate on the number of apps the SailfishOS will launch with, the company is drawing the attention of the developer world. “We’re getting a lot of interest from developers,” he said.
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