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Born out of Nokia's bloodletting during its shift from Symbian to Windows Phone in 2011, the team at Jolla has just released its first smartphone.
While there's a bevy of alternative Android smartphones out there these days, what makes Finnish startup Jolla stand out is that the company has not only designed and built its own hardware, but it's also taken a punt on its own operating system — the Linux-based Sailfish OS — which picks up from where Nokia left off on the MeeGo OS.
It's one of a few alternative smartphones that have put a unique experience over specs, with the hope that its noble efforts to do something different will be enough for customers to part with a few hundred bucks.
Along with a different operating system, the Jolla device has an swappable NFC backplate that can be used to customise the UI and other elements of the phone.
The devices were put up for pre-order earlier this year, but now the only place you can get your hands on one is through Finland's smallest mobile operator.
Cost: €399 ($548), currently only available from Finnish operator DNA.
Specs: The 4.5-inch screen has 960x540 qHD display resolution. It comes with 16GB storage, a microSD slot, eight-megapixel main camera, two-megapixel front-facing camera, replaceable 2100 mAh capacity battery. It runs on a 1.4Ghz dual-core Qualcomm chip, has 1GB RAM and supports 4G LTE.
Hails from: Finland
Image: Jo Best/ZDNet
Chinese hardware maker Oppo has just released its third phone, the N1. It's a 5.9-inch Android 4.2 Jelly Bean phablet with some hardware and software components that elevate in beyond the average smartphone.
The N1 hardware looks polished, and like Jolla, the N1 aims for different experience — aiming at both the modder crowd and general consumers with its pre-loaded CyanogenMod firmware.
Two standout unique features of the N1 are its rear touch-panel for scrolling, tapping or snapping pics and the rotating camera, which can roll from a front-facing position to the back.
Cost: €449 ($599)
Specs: The 5.9-inch phablet has a 1080p HD display with 377 ppi, a 13-megapixel camera, 2GB RAM and 3,610 mAh battery. The N1 runs Oppo's Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with the Oppo Color UI, but also comes with support for CyanogenMod. It weighs 213g, with dimensions at 170mm long, 82mm wide and 9mm thick.
Availability: Europe and the US from 10 December.
Hails from: China
Launched last week by a unit of Russian telecoms company Yota, Yota Devices, the YotaPhone became Russia's first homegrown smartphone.
Like Jolla and Oppo, specs take a backseat to differentiation, which in Yota's case takes shape in two displays: an LCD screen on the front and an e-ink screen on the back. Images like maps or documents can be saved to the e-ink screen, and the device will keep displaying them even on a flat battery. Widgets like the clock, battery level or notifications can also be placed there.
Yota's dual-screen prototype captured attention at this year's CES, but while the concept still impresses, Yota's implementation of the e-ink display in the finished product appears to need further work, according to ZDNet's sister site, CNET.
But, as Yota Devices CEO Vlad Martynov said at the release of the YotaPhone: "This is YotaPhone 1.0. Expect other big and new things to follow."
The next iteration is expected to arrive in late 2014.
Cost: €499 ($688)
Specs: The 4.3-inch YotaPhone has 720x1280 LCD main screen, while the back is a 360x640 EPD grayscale display. It has a 13-megapixel main camera and one-megapixel front-facing camera, 2GB of RAM, a 1,800mAh battery, FM radio, and LTE in the 800/1800/2600 bands. The YotaPhone runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.
Available: Russia, Austria, France, Spain, and Germany via yotaphone.com and in stores in December in Russia and Germany.
By early 2014 it is expected to be available in 20 markets, including the UK, but not the US.
Hails from: Russia
Image: Yota Devices