​Jolla hunts for Sailfish OEMs, taps crypto firm to target the enterprise

Finnish smartphone startup Jolla has rekindled efforts to find OEMs to build Sailfish OS devices and is eyeing a space as a European security-focused mobile comms company.

Jolla is reviving its hunt for hardware partners to make smartphones or tablets running its Sailfish OS.

In an age of Android, the odds may seem to be stacked against Jolla, but two years since its inception, the small Finnish startup is still afloat and even has some wind in its sails after a crowdfunding campaign breathed life into its forthcoming tablet.

Jolla announced today that shipments of its first tablet should begin in the second quarter of 2015, alongside the release of the 2.0 version of its Sailfish OS. Jolla's tablet uses Intel's Atom 3700 series as its application processor and so one of the features the new OS, which is available to other hardware makers to license, is support for Intel architecture.

When Jolla emerged in 2012 after Nokia ditched work on the open-source MeeGo operating system, the company outlined ambitions to persuade ODMs, OEMs, internet companies and others to build devices that ran its OS. Companies that wanted to license its OS would do so through the Sailfish OS alliance. While Jolla did gain early support for that mission from Chinese retailer D.Phone, the alliance seemed to have taken a backseat to the launch of its first Sailfish OS smartphone, released last year.

But with Sailfish OS 2.0 on the way, Intel on board, and a tablet in the works, Jolla says the Sailfish alliance is now ready to roll again.

"The roadmap of Sailfish OS already from the beginning in 2012 has led the way to this point: Sailfish OS is now ready for licensing to OEMs and other partners," Antti Saarnio, co-founder of Jolla and the company's chairman, said.

"We feel that Sailfish OS is the perfect platform for OEMs, content owners, m-commerce companies, and others to build differentiated mobile products. We are also very happy to work with Intel in planning for the Intel Atom x3 processor support for Sailfish OS," he added.

The company is at MWC in Barcelona this week, likely scouting for potential members for its alliance.

According to Jolla, Sailfish OS 2.0 offers several improvements on its predecessor, including better Android application compatibility, support for Intel Atom x3 architecture, a new UI, privacy enhancements, and updates to notifications and events views. The Sailfish OS 2.0 UI apparently also lends itself to digital content providers or mobile commerce applications.

The company also has ambitions for the Sailfish OS to be used in the enterprise, today announcing plans to develop a version called 'Sailfish Secure' with Finnish security firm SSH Communications Security. The latter company's claim to fame is that its founder Tatu Ylönen is the father of the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol, which protects data in transit.

The idea would be to become a European alternative to iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone, which Jolla reckons will be "ideal for government officials, corporations, and consumers." In other words, it will try and crack the regulated end of enterprise that Samsung is pursuing with Knox.

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