Jolla releases SDK to let users 3D print their own covers, launches two Other Half backplates

Jolla releases SDK to let users 3D print their own covers, launches two Other Half backplates

Summary: Jolla's new Other Half backplates and its SDK may go some way to explaining to consumers what the concept is really about.

TOPICS: Mobility, Smartphones, EU

Finnish smartphone maker Jolla has released 3D files and technical specs for developers to print and assemble their own NFC-chipped 'Other Half' backplates.

The young Finnish company, which began selling its first phones in November, has given developers and fans new tools to begin modifying the look and feel of their Sailfish OS devices.

Jolla has made much of the Other Half — interchangeable NFC-equipped backplates that developers can use to customise the UI and other features of the phone. Besides fans, Jolla is also hoping retailers or brands will buy into the concept and begin offering their own Other Half backplates to bring custom content or apps to Jolla's Sailfish OS devices. 

For consumers, it's positioning its smart covers as fashion accessories to the device, which it's demonstrated with two new additional snap-on Other Half backplates on sale for €29 each.

Released this week, the Keira black smart cover carries its own "urban and industrial" ringtone and wallpaper, which owners can use to to "tune into the beat of the city", while the Aloe cover's bell-heavy ringtone is meant for owners when they want to "unwind".

Alongside the new backplates, Jolla also released the Other Half developers kit, which includes 3D files for developers to print their own smart covers.

Nokia did something similar when it released 3D files for the Lumia 820 last year. While Nokia's files allowed consumers to make 'dumb covers', the kit Jolla has released is more complex and explains, for example, where to place the NFC tag and what type of tag is optimal for the device.

Jolla's store also plays a key role in how the smart cover functions. As the company explains, the cover is used to pull content from the store under a process initiated each time a cover is attached the device. Each NFC tag is meant to have a unique ID, which is used to match up relevant content from the store and guide what's downloaded and installed on the Jolla device.

Jolla hasn't released any sales figures for its device, which is priced at €399 upfront and available online to customers in Europe. It's also signed a distribution deal with Finnish mobile operator DNA for the devices.

To compensate for the relatively low number of native Sailfish OS apps, Jolla has made the device 'Android compatible' and partnered with Russian search company Yandex to give owners a place to install apps from. 

More on Jolla

Topics: Mobility, Smartphones, EU

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Jolla!

    U guys still alive huh?! Just hope U can survive till 2016... Nokia might just scoop U guys back up
  • So where's all the I2C equipped devices

    They made a big thing about it having the port under the backplane.

    Sensors, vehicle dock, SLR lens, keyboard etc. Making the covers unique and recognisable isnt actually that useful, actually its a bit like the Skylanders (and now Wii U with Pokemon) franchise.

    Those are just an excuse to print money - buy the game, and then have to buy content embedded in plastic crap for a premium so you can play it.

    I really hope Jolla doesnt buy into that mentality, because the kind of people who'll buy their accessory-phone nonsense wont give a stuff about Sailfish or development unless it means they can play the latest CandyCrush iteration on a phone that matches their handbag without having to fiddle with settings.

    Thats what MicroSoft bought Nokia's genitals for, and it hasnt served them so well.