Sailfish platform is more of a green sprout than what the name alone suggests. A sprout coming out of the very foundations of the Nokia?s and Intel?s MeeGo rubble. Jolla, the Finnish mobile phone startup company unveiled their first smartphone that is powered by this new mobile platform, and while they do hold some of the important details to themselves, we are at least given a general and exciting look of what the tomorrow will bring.

?This is a moment we have been eagerly waiting for, and we are proud to show the progress of this journey so far. We are introducing the first Jolla, which will change the way people interact with their devices. Jolla adapts to what you need, what you feel, what you want – just how you like it,? said Tomi Pienimäki, CEO of Jolla at the main event in Helsinki today. The device that got unveiled is a 4.5-inch smartphone, and is heavily gesture based, just as the MeeGo ?Harmattan? before it (Nokia N9). Some have already noticed the similarities between the Sailfish device and the N9 ? especially when it comes to the minimalistic and clean device face. Other sides reveal something entirely different to the N9 ? a sandwiched (but still industrial/minimalistic) approach.

Jolla Phone
"The Other Half" cover that forms a complete smartphone "sandwich" brings extra functionality

Specification sheet is mostly vague, unfortunately. The screen type remains unknown, as is the case with the ?powerful dual-core processor? inside. Default storage space is 16GB, which is expandable via microSD cards, and the removable battery is touted as well. Device carries a standard 8MP AF camera and 4G LTE capability.

Special role and emphasis was given to the fact the device has a back cover ?The Other Half? which is smart ? as the company claims that there is more to it than meets the eye. For instance, user can assign a profile to each of those covers, and the phone automatically changes the theme (appearance) and profile (colors, fonts, tones, applications) the user previously set. Jolla counts on the developers and manufacturers to expand the functionality ? and among the lines it seems that ?The Other Half? principle won?t be limited to coverpersonalization capabilities only (docks, tablets, high capacity batteries, wireless charging, and many other things come to mind).

Jolla Phone
Jolla phone has three hardware buttons (power, vol.up/down). Everything else is gesture based.

Certainly, every new contender in the smartphone world needs to overcome a series of gaps in order to become visible at all ? break through the bad weather. Ecosystem is on the throne of such gaps in recent times – and from our understanding, the sheer amount of applications available for the Sailfish platform will not be a problem, as the Android apps are easily run due to the built-in Alien Dalvik layer. However, given that the Sailfish UI is significantly different than what can be found on the Android, in order for the apps to function as intended and in full glory, they would need to be ported over to native Qt/QML. At least for a start, the possible application gap is filled ? and that is a good thing.

Jolla Phone Red Cover

The bad thing? You can?t have it. At least not yet. First devices should be available by the end of the year, but the 399? ($515) ‘leap of faith’ preorder is already possible in a campaign that resembles something found on the Kickstarter:

Let?s see if the green sprout survives the harsh weather and competition of the smartphone world ? in time, it could turn out to be an interesting option ? and not only for the (former) MeeGo enthusiasts and general underdog fans. Then again, only time will tell the whole story.