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Joakim

Pro1 and Sailfish OS

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For those who do not know what Sailfish OS is here is a "simplified" backstory:

 

Sailfish is the continuation of Nokia's and Intel's MeeGo operating system, which UI focused in one simple single gesture: Swipe. This was demonstrated in the only commercial product today: Nokia N9 way back in 2011.

The gesture mechanic at which the UI bases it's functionality into was game changing and addictive (personal opinion, but many users share it). Phone app had skype support as baseline which was kinda uncommon at the time. In addition there were many other small things. I loved the design and the phone in general so much that I bought a second one after the first one broke, even though the phone and the operating system were destined to die even before the phone itself was released. Nokia struck a deal with Microsoft to use Windows Phone as their primary OS for smartphones which eventually doomed Symbian and MeeGo really quickly (more about this you can search for "Nokia burning platform").

 

But there was a lot of promise in MeeGo. Many old developers and users a like wanted it's story to continue. These old developers at Nokia were given a startup program (sponsored by Nokia) and they made a company called Jolla. They took the core parts of MeeGo and made it into Sailfish. Unfortunately, many fundamental features and licences were still owned by Nokia and had to be redone or just given up (like native Skype support).

They also knew that android was growing rapidly and it was hard to get developers onboard to smaller operating system to develop apps. That's why Android support was added so that the phone could support most apps from the Google Play -store (and Play-store itself is actually possible to install into the phone if you are knowledgeable).

 

Jolla released their first phone in 2013 via a crowdfunding campaign which lead it to be sold in normal shops in Finland. Community ports appeared for multiple Android phones with unlockable Bootloader and start looked promising. I was one of those who received this new Jolla phone through crowdfunding.

 

Then came Sailfish OS 2 and Jolla tablet. To simplify this: tablet crowdfunding was created, it succeeded, but production had problems with screens which lead into company getting drained from money because the assembly was delayed and so on. Eventually some customers got their tablets, but others were paid back in very slow pace. Money situation was so bad that company almost filed for bankruptcy. This angered many who supported the company, many of which were loyal fans.

 

Well, company survived, but it had to downsize and many other not so great things. Sailfish OS got into it's third major version and brought in Sailfish X -program which brought Sailfish to some Xperia XA devices (and lately XA2). Other official ports were also made (like Jolla C, developer phone which I also own. Gemini PDA other worthy mention). They also got funding from Russia and they seem to have quite good progress in Latin America. In Russia Sailfish is the official operating system for government owned companies and government in general. I'm not sure what this means in practice though. Also lately, Huawei situation might bring them to try Sailfish (or it's Russian fork Aurora). Personally I see this unlikely, but you never know.

 

Sailfish developers are trying, but their communication has always left much to desire. I think many fans and customers alike would be more understanding if they did communicate better. I assume that their main focus is their corporate customers and they have to answer to them since they bring the most money and eventually those features will come in benefit of the OS in general.

 

So what does this have to do with Pro1? Well, @Waxberry seems to be one of those dedicated fans and we have seen him demonstrating an alpha adaptation of the OS.

 

 

I bet he has his hands dirty making the Android work well in Pro 1, which I totally understand. I just want to have an update or plan about where this is going to lead in terms of Sailfish OS.

 

Android support is still a deal breaker for many to use Sailfish, since many apps do not exist otherwise. For example Whatsapp does not allow developers to create unofficial versions of the app. Android support only happens if this is an official phone for Sailfish (this happens only with Sailfish OS developer teams support).

 

I know Sailfish users are like a drop in the ocean. We matter very little. But my addiction for Swipe UI does not seem to get any better ;)

 

Damn you Nokia. You stabbed something that could have been so much more. The real alternative that Windows Phone 7 was not.

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I never tried sailfish myself, but of course every now and then I stumble across some ports for various devices, and I will definately try it one day. But I can't imagine to use it as daily driver if there are lots of apps missing, thus making the benefits of a hardware keyboard useless (It's not about whatsapp, I don't even have that). I am not willing to give up a handful of Android apps, even if that means I might be missing something else.

 

thank you for your introduction and explanation of sailfish and jolla! I'm just curious: you mention swipe and gesture input if i got it right, that is of course a benefit for touchscreen-only devices. but doesn't the hardware keyboard make this kind of input obsolete? for me, the hardware keyboard is not an addition to touchscreen input, it ideally replaces most of my touchscreen usage.. But i'll be watching the sailfish developements for the pro1 closely.

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I never tried sailfish myself, but of course every now and then I stumble across some ports for various devices, and I will definately try it one day. But I can’t imagine to use it as daily driver if there are lots of apps missing, thus making the benefits of a hardware keyboard useless (It’s not about whatsapp, I don’t even have that). I am not willing to give up a handful of Android apps, even if that means I might be missing something else.

Yep, I just mentioned Whatsapp since it's one of common ones. Not that I use many apps myself, but even having the chance of being able to download Android app if ever needed one is really important and the key point I was trying to make.

thank you for your introduction and explanation of sailfish and jolla!

No problem. It was fast and fun trip to memory lane. Though some things are maybe little too oversimplified, but I wanted to keep it "compact".

I’m just curious: you mention swipe and gesture input if i got it right, that is of course a benefit for touchscreen-only devices. but doesn’t the hardware keyboard make this kind of input obsolete? for me, the hardware keyboard is not an addition to touchscreen input, it ideally replaces most of my touchscreen usage..

Depends. I usually use my phone one-handed (which is one of the things where Swipe UI excels on, since you are less likely to reach opposite (="far") corners like in Android or iOS) and only when I really would love to have a keyboard is when I type Terminal (since Sailfish is Linux based, it has terminal like interface like normal Linux would) or when I have to type something longer than couple of words. So for a normal user it would give more flexibility and screen estate when needed.

 

There was a community keyboard addon for original Jolla 1 -phone which became very popular (compared to the size of the ecosystem). I did not personally buy it, but I heard good things. You can look into kickstarter project here. Those users would probably be more descriptive about the different use cases, but in practice you could bind any bash-script to a button to do different tasks. Since Sailfish is based on Linux, there are many possibilities for those who are knowledgeable.

 

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Good read.

 

I will be swapping from android as soon as sailfish or ubuntu phone become available its an OS I feel will benefit me more I think.

 

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In Jolla's Askbot, there was a comment about a few Sailfish community members being part of creating Pro1.

 

Of course, this is nothing definite yet, but atleast there is some hope ;)

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for me, the hardware keyboard is not an addition to touchscreen input, it ideally replaces most of my touchscreen usage..

 

This is my feeling exactly, and as a Droid 4 user, a daily reality which I look forward to continuing on the Pro1.

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There is some update from one of the Sailfish OS developers.

 

It's set to the tablet DPI but the UI is smoothly working!!

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I hate to have my expectations set too high, if they are, but will it be an option to ship the phone with Sailfish on it when it enters mass production? I know what's already said about it indicates that it'll ship with Android and the user can install Sailfish on it themselves, but avoiding that extra step on the user end would be nice if it's possible, even if it costs a bit more to do it.

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I hate to have my expectations set too high, if they are, but will it be an option to ship the phone with Sailfish on it when it enters mass production? I know what’s already said about it indicates that it’ll ship with Android and the user can install Sailfish on it themselves, but avoiding that extra step on the user end would be nice if it’s possible, even if it costs a bit more to do it.

 

Due to the nature of this company, you would have a better-than-normal chance of putting a request like this in a "special instructions" box at checkout and having it arrive that way, but I wouldn't bank on it. Then again, you probably know someone who will happily reflash it with the OS of your choice just for a chance to play with your new toy. :)

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For some reason I thought Sailfish was more desktop linux-like than android, basically linux for portable devices. Not sure where I got that idea.

 

And I'm still not clear if SailfishOS on Pro1 will support Android apps or not.

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And I’m still not clear if SailfishOS on Pro1 will support Android apps or not.

 

I guess that's a really important question that would be good to get an answer on

 

could someone post the info from the tweet waxberry linked?

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could someone post the info from the tweet waxberry linked?

 

Well it is a tiny 22s video just showing something is working, and a text

"Hold my beer #Jolla #SailfishOS @JollaHQ @thefxtec"

 

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Ah ok never use tweets so didn't realise that was all of it :D

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Szczepaniak comments that it is indeed unofficial port. Even though if it might be really high quality and even work better than some of the official ports, lack of Android support is still unfortunate. Maybe Jolla will step in if this creates enough fuss. Seems unlikely though.

 

EDIT: but I have to say that Sailfish looks damn good on that screen ;)

 

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I think the problem is if it's official does Jolla have to also back the device in some way? I mean in keeping the OS running on the device even if the company stops updates for it.

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A few more pictures / updates about the port by Adam Pigg:

 

WLAN:

 

Bluetooth:

 

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... if it’s official ...

I can tell you that 100% it's NOT. I too was quite interested in the possibility of trying out Sailfish on the Pro1, so that I contacted Jolla directly. They advised me that porting Sailfish is purely a 'Community' project, and that I needed to look to Sailfish on Facebook. I did that, and there's precious little about the Pro1 on there. That was enough to put me off the idea of chancing an unofficial OS on a brand new phone!

 

 

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Well that's pitty... Phone designed for communication without being able to use WhatsApp - for me it disqualifies using it with Sailfish, I'll stay with Android.

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Well that’s pitty… Phone designed for communication without being able to use WhatsApp – for me it disqualifies using it with Sailfish, I’ll stay with Android.

 

The real pitty here is that WhatsApp is a must. I need it too, but would prefer not to.

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I'm disappointed too, as I also have one Android app I don't want to give up. If there's a way to dual boot, I'll probably try sailfish for fun, but will never be my primary w/o Android support.

 

(In my case, the app is google's hangouts. I use google voice as my primary mobile number and it needs hangouts to ring and hangouts dialer to dial; I don't even know the actual direct numbers to my phones (off the top of my head) as I dont ever use them for anything and this allows me to use multiple phones/devices all on the same number/etc, with data plans only, and take advantage of free wifi whenever possible.)

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The project is still quite young. I can imagine that nowadays the FxTec team tries to implement Jolla fully into the Pro1. When this system will works on the device and will be reliable enough, I think they will discuss official implementation with Android Support. At least they would. Or should? :) Try to think about that: Jolla earns no money for the development (i mean from Pro1). And since they don´t know whether the phone will be sold in many thousand pieces, noone would invest their money into "unknown" project. But IMHO when FxTec implements the system well and everything will work fine, they can come to Jolla and say: hello, we are ready for next stage, it works, please allow Android support and you will get XYZ € for every sold instance. Sooo.. Stay optimistic, I would love to throw Android away!

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@Swond, I also hope the same.

 

I would like to use Sailfish but without Android support it is not a real solution as primary phone... but I will use Pro1 as my primary phone, so for long-term use, I will only use Sailfish if it will support Android apps on Pro1.

 

As of Sailfish / Jolla, I feel it would be a good idea for them to fully support this phone if it will have good feedbacks and reach some critical number of sales. That could improve also Sailfish possibilities of future grow.

(If initial support reaches a stable state, it may be easily extended also by Andoid support by official team.)

Just think about the community of old N900 (Maego/Meego), this is a very similar, but modern hardware. If I would be the leaders of Jolla, I would keep my eyes of Pro1 and I would also consider some way to support F(x)tec - for example, if everything going right, an idea of official Jolla phone made by F(x)tec (as their next phone) would be also interesting if they can reach some negotiation.

 

So also F(x)tec and Jolla may could gain profit if they cooperate at some point.

 

So, we will see it later.

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Indeed, That is true. You can see how Jolla and Galaxy cooperate. It might be the same situation. Keep my fingers crossed for future Sailfish Android support. I am sure the developers know this pain very well. And the adaptation of Sailfish is not so easy - as we can see that BT or WiFi support was not working at the beginning, but now they do. Soooo.. In this case I trust in the team they will reach their point, one day Android Support will appear same as the BT or WiFi did.

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We hope to make the community port first. If it is proved that the port runs well and our user loves it, we will certainly look into other options. Currently our focus is to bring a stable and usable community port first. :)

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