MWC 2018: Jolla takes on Google’s Android OS with new Sailfish 3

After a long hiatus, Finish company Jolla is back with a new version of Sailfish OS, called Sailfish 3, with the promise that it will be available on more smartphones, including the new Sony Xperia XA2. The new OS was unveiled at the ongoing Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, but will be available for adoption in Q3 2018.

Jolla claims Sailfish 3 is 30% faster than its predecessor and comes with better security features and options such as fingerprint sensor, remote lock and wipe in case the device is stolen or lost, and the option to encrypt data and communication through integrated VPN. It also supports full cloud integration, which means users’ bookmarks in browser app, notes and photos will be automatically synced, allowing them to take backup or access them on other devices. Sailfish 3 will also support 4G and VOLTE calling, so users could take advantage of faster 4G speeds.

To make the Sailfish OS more user-friendly, Jolla has made several changes in the user interface and also within some pre-loaded apps such as email and calendar. Improvements in the user interface include a redesigned top menu with a dedicated section for settings and actions. A Light Theme has been added which will use less resource. Jolla has also improved the multi-tasking section and claims this will help users switch between apps faster.

Jolla is also working on a variant of Sailfish 3 for feature phones. It will have many of the features of the version made for smartphones but can be controlled with buttons. The idea behind it is to make feature phones smarter.

One of the highlights of the Sailfish OS is that users can get the ROM and flash it on compatible Android smartphones. This option will be available with the new version too. The price of the new ROM and the latest set of compatible devices have not been announced yet.

Sailfish OS was announced in 2013 to provide users with a more flexible and open alternative to Android OS. It is based on the MeeGo software, a Linux distro developed in collaboration between Nokia and Intel in 2011. After Nokia switched to Windows Phone OS and MeeGo was discontinued by Linux, a team of former Nokia developers used its source code to create the Sailfish OS. It has been used to power smartphones made by Jolla, Sony and Indian phonemaker Intex.

The OS was designed keeping natural hand movements and gestures in mind. Users don’t have to tap on any on-screen or physical buttons to go back or forth. They could scroll through the interface, access shortcuts and close apps through simple swipe gestures. Sailfish OS doesn’t support Google Play services but supports all Android apps available on third-party app stores such as Yandexlivemint