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...Except when it does things like this.
Given the limited (mobile connectivity free) time I spent with the Jolla device, it's hard to give a well-balanced view of the operating system.
While there are elements that appeal, like the pulley menu plus 'peek' combination, the OS as a whole feels unfinished, and very much deserving of the beta tag. At €399, it also packs quite a high price tag for some decidedly middling specs.
However, both can be explained by the nature of the device - it's the product of two years' work by a small, interesting startup, which is fully cognisant of the bugs in the OS and the work that must be done to fix them. As a first effort, it's got a lot of potential and some interesting ideas under the hood, if it can persuade users to spend their time re-learning how to use a mobile OS.
As an open source company, it's already building a fan base of developers and early adopters — exactly the sort of people happy to overlook bugs and embrace new UIs. But if Sailfish wants to go beyond that, it needs a serious spit and polish to make it accessible, and appealing, for the everyday user.
Jolla has always talked about how it plans to license the Sailfish OS out, though it hasn't signed any deals yet. As a lure for potential licensees, I'm not sure the first Jolla device is sophisticated enough, but it shows what a bunch of clever engineers can do with relatively little money (the company has spent €20m so far) and a lot of ambition.
For Jolla to become a serious contender, it needs an equally serious partner — a company heavyweight enough to give Jolla the time it needs to beef up its ecosystem and iron out the annoying quirks, and the higher-end hardware it's crying out for.