Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.
Finnish startup Jolla has ambitious goals for its Sailfish mobile operating system to be an alternative to Android — and now it has announced compatibility with the Android ecosystem in terms of apps and, more interestingly, hardware.
Essentially, the Sailfish OS can now run on smartphones and tablets that are produced for Android, which means device vendors that want to use Sailfish do not need to be limited to only Jolla phones. Jolla is also cooperating with app stores across the world to ensure Sailfish users can download Android apps seamlessly.
Although the company has assured users that native apps will continue to be developed — and that dedicated Sailfish apps will get the most from the platform — some have noted how Android compatibility could make developers less inclined to go native.
.@NMShenoy Definitely, native apps are the only way to utilize the Sailfish UI to the full.
— Jolla (@JollaHQ) September 16, 2013
Jolla believes that Sailfish’s compatibility with the Android ecosystem is not an irony for an operating system that is meant to be an alternative to the current status quo — instead it is tapping on existing products to make it easier for vendors to switch over. Jolla says that this will offer “growth opportunities of significant scale for Sailfish OS globally, especially in China”.
The company’s ambitions for China can be seen clearly — as even wildly-popular Chinese messaging service WeChat runs on Sailfish OS.
“We are already in discussions with several major Asian vendors regarding this opportunity,” Jolla CEO Tomi Pienimäki says.
Jolla says it is opening up another pre-order chance for its second production batch later this week via its website, targeted at Finnish customers. Last month, the company said that its first batch of smartphones had been fully booked by customers, some of whom had laid down partial payments to reserve a device — but didn’t disclose the number of handsets in the batch.
The company will hope Sailfish doesn’t endure a similar fate to the BlackBerry 10 platform, which — though offering support for Android apps — has failed to reverse the struggling Canadian smartphone-maker’s continued decline.
Headline image via Jolla
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