During trade shows like Mobile World Congress 2016, it can be difficult to pick something out from among all the different exhbitors that’s a little different, that hasn’t been paraded about a thousand times already. One thing that is a little different however, is the Jolla Aqua Fish. For those that aren’t familiar, Jolla is a Finnish company set up by former Nokia employees, and their main product is the Sailfish OS. Their operating system could be considered a direct descendant from Nokia and Intel’s failed MeeGo project, but the company has of course innovated on top of the existing open source platform since then. The OS remains Open Source to this day, and the company has formed a partnership with Indian smartphone manufacturer, Intex, to bring their latest smartphone to market.
Dubbed the Aqua Fish, the hardware here is fairly standard. Running on top of a 1.3 Ghz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and a 5.0-inch HD display upfront. Its form factor isn’t all that fancy either, but it does set itself apart from the rest of the world in terms of smartphone look and feel. Of course, this isn’t about the hardware, it’s all about the software. The Aqua Fish doesn’t run Android, and instead is launching with Sailfish OS 2.0, the latest version of the open source operating system, which was launched last year during MWC. Sailfish OS will feel familiar to Android users, and it does run Android apps as well, but it’s very much its own platform.
The launch of the Aqua Fish means more than just more hardware though, as Intex has become the first company to officially license the Sailfish OS platform, and it’s all part of a larger strategy for Jolla. Realizing that they can’t crack the high-end market in developed markets, they’re targeting nations such as India, Africa and other emerging markets. Whether or not the Sailfish OS will ever catch on in quite the same way as Android is unknown, but it’s nice to see something different at least try to take on the rest of the market. Much like Meizu and Canonical are doing with the Ubuntu Phone initiative.