Jolla is not one to give up it seems, no matter how the odds are stacked against it. Now carrying nothing more than a dream long forgotten and a legacy long abandoned, the Finnish startup formed from Nokia’s failures are now seeking to place its Sailfish OS into people’s hands in a different way. It may, however, be leaning its ladder on the wrong wall by banking on putting the unfamiliar OS in a relatively hard to get smartphone: the Sony Xperia X.
Sony’s smartphone strategy has never been one of the clearest. It has flip-flopped so much and was, at one point, expected to sell its mobile business the way it did its VAIO PC brand. The one thing going for Sony’s Android phones, however, is their openness. Next to the Nexus and Pixel phones, Sony’s phones are the only ones that can boast of almost, but definitely not complete, openness as far as custom development goes.
That is probably why Jolla is banking on a Sony phone to be its next phone, so to speak. It no longer makes hardware so it’s doing the next best thing: putting Sailfish OS on a phone. Considering the above, the Sony Xperia X is probably the most open device to build in, even if Sony has practically abandoned it and it is nowhere near being a flagship.
Even back when it launched, the Xperia X sported mid-range specs, like a Snapdragon 650, 3 GB of RAM, a 5-inch 1080p screen, a 23 megapixel camera, and, at least in the US, no fingerprint scanner. Seasoned Android users might wonder why Jolla didn’t opt for a OnePlus phone or at least a Moto X, both of which are affordable and more or less open. Jolla fans, however, will take what they can get.
The very first version of Sailfish X is slated to launch 27th September, but don’t expect too much from it yet. While Wi-Fi, data, and, surprisingly, cameras are already working, others like Bluetooth, some sensors, and fingerprint scanner, aren’t. Interestingly, Sailfish’s support for running Android apps is reported to be in fine shape. Sailfish X, however, won’t be available for free. Jolla is selling it for 49.90 EUR ($60) and only in the EU, Norway, and Switzerland so far. And, of course, you’ll need a single SIM Sony Xperia X to even use it, which might be harder to find now unless you buy online only.