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These ex-Nokia heads believe they can take on Android head-first

Finnish company Jolla wants its OS SailFish 2.0 to be an “independent and competitive alternative to Android.”

Nokia may no longer be in the business of making devices, but the spirit lives on with Jolla (pronounced Yolla), a Finnish company made up of ex-Nokia staff who decided to go their separate ways in 2011.

Its recent release is the Jolla Tablet, a crowdfunded device which raised $2.2 million on IndieGoGo late last year.

We got to play around with it for a bit and we have to say, the interface and device does look promising.

The tablet itself has decent specs – 64bit 1.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel, 2GB of Ram, 32/64GB of storage with SD slot and a 4450mAh battery – and the design has curved edges which suggests it’s designed with landscape mode users in mind, but the interesting part is the software powering it.

The simplicity of Sailfish OS 2.0 which is entirely gesture based – you’re literally one or two swipes away from the home screen – could make it a dark horse in a tablet market that’s really beginning to heat up again.

These ex-Nokia heads believe they can take on Android head-first
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  • Jolla Tablet

  • Jolla Tablet

  • Jolla Tablet

  • Jolla Tablet

  • Jolla Tablet

The home screen revolves around an open tabs screen, showing you what apps and services you’ve opened recently. From there, it’s a swipe left to your notification screen (which has been enhanced to allow event views, messages,, a swipe right to a partner programme (in this case it was music app Deezer), and swipe top to bottom to get different themes for your tablet like work and sports.

You bring your selection of apps up on the screen by swiping up from the bottom. It’s similar to how the notification centre on iOS, Android and Windows Phone appears but on the opposite side of the screen. It does function nicely and the essential apps all appear to be there, meaning it is coming into its own and it promises a number of security features to keep everything safe.

Strong, local ecosystem

It’s open-source and its target is Android, which dominates the market. Its goal is to create “a strong, local ecosystem” and offer both an independent and competitive alternative to consumers and developers.

That’s also why it has a screen for partners. It wants to place them at the front of the experience and through that and other methods, delivering premium content is one, it’s hoping that developers will find it tempting enough to try it out.

If you’re expecting it to arrive here, you may be left disappointed as it’s looking at targeting developing markets like Russia, India and China as well as the US.

Yet Jolla is hoping that its uniqueness will help differentiate it from similar Android tablets and if they hit the right balance with sharing revenues with app developers – it announced it ready to licence the OS to manufacturers and other potential partners.

The software is expected to arrive on both phones and tablets in the second quarter of the year.

Jolla / YouTube

Quinton O’Reilly is at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona all this week. Follow all the goings-on at @TheJournalTech.

Read: Sony ditches the flagship (for now) to focus on creating a standout tablet* >

Read: Samsung has put all its rivals on the back foot with just one event >

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