Most tablets are leaked before released. We knew most of what we needed to know about the Nexus 9 before it was announced, so yesterday’s Nokia N1 announcement was something of a surprise because we didn’t know so much about it. Today, Jolla announced the Sailfish OS-powered Jolla tablet, which shares some similarities with the Nokia N1. The first is that it’s based around an Intel processor (perhaps both manufacturers are seeking take advantage of the last few months of Intel’s Atom discounting?) and the Jolla is based around a 1.8 GHz quad core Intel processor, 2 GB of RAM and a 7.9-inch, 2,048 by 1,563 pixel high resolution screen. It has a 4,300 mAh battery, 32 GB of internal storage and a MicroSD card slot, too. It will also retail at just $249 once available. However, the Jolla Tablet was announced as an Indiegogo campaign to release an “iPad alternative,” an interesting play on words, which means this is a crowdsourced project. Indeed, or took just two hours for almost two and a half thousand people to back the company, raising the target $380,000 meaning that the first Jolla Tablets should be out by June 2015. The first two thousand backers week paid just $189 for their device and the next thousand, $199.
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The tablet will run Sailfish OS, which is an extension of former Nokia open source operating system, MeeGo. Another link here is that Jolla’s founding team are ex-Nokia employees and had been working on MeeGo. Jolla’s co-founder, Marc Dillon, had this to say about Sailfish OS, “We’re going to continue the Sailfish story forward by taking our great multitasking experience and our emphasis on privacy and usability and gestures, and along with our community we’re going to build the tablet. There will be a continuation with the way we have worked with together.jolla.com so we’re going to extend this so that the people who are participating in the campaign will be able to help to decide what kinds of features and things will end up on this tablet.” Marc argues that Sailfish OS is built for multitasking, “Taking our multitasking experience into a larger form factor is really exciting… you can watch the game at the same time as you can follow and update your social media. Maybe have Twitter and Facebook open at the same time as you’re able to watch the game.”
At this point, I’m sure readers will be thinking, okay sure; multitasking is great if you have any applications to run on it. The Jolla ‘phone with it’s Sailfish OS hasn’t exactly been a commercial hit so far. This isn’t based on sales figures – because Jolla doesn’t disclose these – but on the number we see in high street stores and in peoples’ hands. However, Sailfish OS has a secret weapon: it can run Android applications. Sure, it’ll have native applications and a software developer kit, but the compatibility with Android applications is an interesting twist. We’ll see if it requires Google Play Services (something that BlackBerry 10 struggles with), but at least it makes the device less restrictive-sounding. Jolla are also very keen to make and keep good relationships with the community, but engaging developers and asking (indeed, requiring) their feedback and support to make the device work.
Putting aside the hardware and software for the time being, that Jolla successfully raised their target capital in just two hours shows that there’s massive demand for inexpensive, well specified tablets. This is what makes the Jolla Tablet interesting (plus, I suppose, can we remove Sailfish OS and install Android 5.0 Lollipop!). Let us know what you think below.