Things were going fine for Jolla at the MWC: It had won over a partner, Sony, who wished to support Sailfish OS in the future. Since then, we had not heard much from the project, but now Jolla has some news to share. It’s still going, but not as expected.
As ever, the devil is in the details, and the collaboration between Sony and Jolla is a prime example. There was a lot of excitement when Jolla announced a partnership with Sony at MWC. Had Jolla found an ally? Would Sony sell smartphones running Sailfish OS? These interpretations were obvious due to the various headlines, but as a matter of fact, Sony only said that it would open the Open Devices Program to Sailfish OS. Sales ambitions are a different story.
Since then, we have asked Sony twice for news on Sailfish OS. “No, there is no news”, was what we always heard. Now, Jolla has published news on the project in a detailed blog post. It makes clear the proportions that the project will actually take...rather small ones, in fact.
Sailfish OS on Xperia X is making progress
Developers would have made great progress in getting Jolla to run on the Xperia X. However, there were a few difficulties. For instance, the Xperia X is the first 64-bit ARM device, which was a source of problems. Naturally, there must be system stability, and installation and updates must work well and happen easily, something that is critical for users. However, there is still work to be done on that.
It is expected to launch in June, when Jolla will provide a small user group with a firmware image of Sailfish OS 2.1.2 for testing. The next step remains to be seen, because Jolla first wants to wait for feedback from these beta testers.
Sailfish OS will initially be ported and supported for the Xperia X. The obvious goal is to have a solution that is stable enough to use as a daily driver. Installations and updates will be so convenient that even less technically skilled users can perform them. Only after achieving this can Jolla think about supporting additional smartphones. The more similar the hardware, the greater the chances of this happening.
Sailfish OS remains aftermarket firmware
Anyone who hoped that Sony would actively support Sailfish OS, or even sell smartphones with Sailfish OS, is in for a disappointment. Even Jolla itself will probably not sell pre-modded Xperia devices.
Thus, Sailfish OS remains an aftermarket firmware that users can install at their own risk. Should Jolla manage to develop stable firmware and establish a simple installation process, then Xperia X may possibly be the best smartphone for Sailfish enthusiasts at the end of 2017. At least things are still coming along with Sailfish OS and that is good news. But is that enough to establish Sailfish OS as an Android competitor? Doubtful.
What hopes do you have for the project? Will you try out Sailfish OS on your Xperia X? Or even purchase one for it? Let me know in the comments below!