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Jolla Oy
(Limited company)
IndustryMobile operating system
PredecessorMeeGo team from Nokia
FoundedPirkkala, Finland (March 29, 2011 (2011-03-29))
  • Sami Pienimäki
  • Jussi Hurmola
  • Marc Dillon
  • Stefano Mosconi
  • Antti Saarnio
Area served
Key people
  • Sami Pienimäki (CEO)
ProductsSailfish OS, a GNU-based operating system for mobile devices with roots in the MeeGo project
Number of employees
50 employees

Jolla Oy[1] (sometimes referred to as Jolla Ltd.) is a Finnish technology company; vendor and developer of Sailfish OS.[2] Headquartered in Tampere, Finland, Jolla has its own research and development offices in Helsinki, Tampere and Cyberport, Hong Kong. Jolla was founded in 2011 by former Nokia staff of the MeeGo project team to use the MeeGo opportunities and its "endless possibilities".

Pronounced 'yolla', the company name is Finnish for "dinghy" (a small agile boat or life rescue boat) and it refers to the possibility for the company to compete against giants like Samsung and Apple pictured in antithesis as big cruise ships. Then, the community and the media used the name as an ironic joke about the "burning platform" memo, which contained the metaphor "jump into the cold sea water" or "burn with burning platform" used in context of the Nokia business activities.[3]


Former logo

In 2005, Nokia created a new GNU distro called OS2005, which shipped with the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. It was renamed Maemo (version 5) and shipped with the Nokia N900 in 2009. An alliance of Nokia and Intel merged their Maemo and Moblin (also a free software GNU distro) projects into a new project called MeeGo in 2010. The same year, Nokia announced that the N8 would be the last flagship phone to run Symbian, and "Going forward, N-series devices will be based on MeeGo".[4]

Unexpectedly, in 2011 the MeeGo project was cancelled, regardless of MeeGo's potential for success. In compliance with agreements with Intel, one MeeGo device was released, the Nokia N9, which achieved iconic status[citation needed].

Despite the N9 market success, the MeeGo project in Nokia was already doomed and a general atmosphere around it was having more and more negative influence on the MeeGo team and other Nokia employees. As a result, in October 2011, some of the MeeGo team left Nokia to form the project called Jolla, aimed at developing new opportunities with the GNU MeeGo OS, using funding from Nokia's "Bridge" program which helps establish and support start-up companies by ex-Nokia employees.[5][6][7]

At the time, Nokia was supporting employees leaving the company with a €25,000 start-up grant, but Jolla's founders had not given any rights to patents or other intellectual property to Jolla. Jolla's Sailfish OS, which used middleware core stack of Mer, is a direct successor to MeeGo and the Jolla is successor of N9, but used only the open-sourced components of MeeGo, while the closed-source user interface design (of codename Harmattan) for all future devices had to be developed from scratch. As a result, new mobile standards were established together with Mer.

On 6 July 2012, Jolla publicly announced its intention to develop new smartphones that used a gesture-oriented swipe interface corresponding to former Nokia's Harmattan UI experience. They named their operating system "Sailfish OS", which includes a gesture-based user interface developed using Qt, QML and HTML5, as did Nokia's N9.

Jolla cooperated with others to grow their applications and the MeeGo platform.[8] On 17 September 2013, it announced that the phone will be capable of running Android applications, thanks to the built-in Alien Dalvik. Due to formal limitations, the Google Play Store had to be installed by the end user manually.[9]

On 7 July 2015, after a failure of cooperation with Chinese manufacturer to deliver the Jolla Tablet, Jolla announced it would spin off its hardware operations to a brand new company, and continue to focus on current activities as a developer and licenser of the Sailfish OS.[10]

In November 2015, Jolla had to lay off half of its employees due to financial problems caused by delayed financing from an investor. On December 21, 2015, forced to cancel the Jolla Tablet project, Jolla announced that they would be "shipping a small batch of the Jolla Tablet to early backers during early 2016" but "all of our backers will not get a Jolla Tablet",[11] because their Chinese manufacturer had already produced a batch as a consequence of delayed financing, while it was impossible to produce more as essential components were no longer produced. Subsequently, in April 2016, Jolla launched a campaign to refund all the tablet payments that had been made during the crowd-sourcing campaign,[12] but most backers lost their money.

After the setbacks with the tablet production, Jolla concentrated on developing the Sailfish mobile operating system. It acquired new investors in 2016, among them the Russian company Votron[citation needed]. In March 2018 they were joined by Rostelecom (which is state owned, that is, fully controlled by the Russian government) as investor, which took over Votron and OMP.[13][14] Rostelecom owns 75% of the Sailfish based Aurora OS.[15]

In August 2017, Sailfish X was introduced for the Sony Xperia X smartphone.[16] Support for the Sony Xperia XA2 was added as beta in November 2018.[17] Support for the newer Sony Xperia 10 was added in November 2019.[18]

Sailfish OS[edit]

Operating system[edit]

Sailfish OS is an operating system that can be adapted to different mobile devices. Also, the software can be tailored to best fit the consumer needs, from companies to mass consume. It is the core product of Jolla.

Sailfish OS is an evolution of the Nokia MeeGo and Mer project. It is based on GNU free software code powered with C, C++, Qt and QML. The core is developed on Linux kernel that enables a wide hardware support.

Sailfish OS has its own native applications that can be developed and uploaded in the store through the portal Thanks to Sailfish SDK, developers can fully emulate the whole OS behavior. This enables the development also for programmers who don't actually have a Sailfish device. Sailfish application are complemented by the Android ecosystem. Here with Alien Dalvik, third-party Android applications become compatible with Sailfish.

Sailfish OS has an open core that can be improved by the community but also a proprietary UI that is seen as the succession of the Nokia N9 interface. It is touch-based and the only available interface with true multitasking capabilities. Basic UI applications, like mail, contacts, camera are provided by Jolla and are under continuous development.

Sailfish OS 1 was launched in December 2013 with the first Jolla phone.

Sailfish OS 2 was implemented in November 2015 for the Jolla Tablet and made compatible for all other products onward.

Sailfish OS 3 was released on 11 November 2018. This version and its ongoing series of updates introduced a faster user interface. The new generation will be focused on privacy and security as well as extending the support to new hardware.[19]

Sailfish OS 4 was released on 16 February 2021.

Sailfish OS products[edit]

Marc Dillon showing Jolla's phone. The event was titled Jolla Love Day at KlausK, Helsinki.[20]
People waiting to get hands-on with Jolla's phone
Jolla's mobile phone
  • Jolla Mobile Phone (November 2013) - smartphone with Sailfish OS, 4.5in IPS qHD display, 16 GB storage, 1 GB RAM, a microSD slot and an 8 MP camera.[21]
  • Sony Xperia X in October 2017- Sailfish OS, single SIMsim, microSD up to 200 GB, 5” full HD display, 13 MP front camera.[22]
  • Gemini, by Planet Computers in January 2018 – Sailfish OS, 4G and WLAN, full physical keyboard, 5.99-inch screen, 5 MP camera and stereo speakers.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jolla Oy", Business Information System, the Finnish National Board of Patents and Registration, and the Finnish Tax Administration, archived from the original on July 18, 2012, retrieved July 18, 2012
  2. ^ Jolla at LinkedIn. "LinkedIn". LinkedIn. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  3. ^ Zieler, Chris. "Who wants to be the mobile of Google, not Nokia". Retrieved October 12, 2012.
  4. ^ "Nokia picks MeeGo over Symbian for iPhone rival".
  5. ^ "Many former Nokia employees start businesses of their own", Helsingin Sanomat, archived from the original on February 9, 2014
  6. ^ Lunden, Ingrid. "Nokia Bridge: Nokia's Incubator Gives Departing Employees €25k And More To Pursue Ideas That Nokia Has Not". Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  7. ^ Tung, Liam. "Inside Nokia Bridge: How Nokia funds ex-employees' new start-ups". © 2013 CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  8. ^ Davies, Chris (July 11, 2012). "Jolla Mobile CEO: "MeeGo is not dead"". SlashGear. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  9. ^ "Jolla Sailfish OS to support Android hardware, apps". The Register. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  10. ^ "Mobile Maker Jolla Splits In Two, With Sailfish OS Its First Order Of Business". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  11. ^ "New Year's Greetings from Jolla". December 31, 2015.
  12. ^ "New Year's Greetings from Jolla". May 25, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  13. ^ "Rostelecom plans acquisition of Sailfish OS". February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  14. ^ "A new strategic investor joins the Sailfish family". March 18, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  15. ^ "SAILFISH OS IS NOW AURORA OS IN RUSSIA". 09/02/2019. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. ^ "Introducing Sailfish X and all the details you want to know". August 25, 2017. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  17. ^ "New Sailfish X support for Xperia XA2 variants and free trial". November 8, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  18. ^ "Sailfish X for Sony Xperia 10 now available". November 19, 2019. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  19. ^ "Sailfish OS about".
  20. ^ "MoMo Helsinki – May 20th – Featuring Jolla Love Day". Mobile Monday. Archived from the original on April 8, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Jolla shop".
  23. ^ "Sailfish for Gemini Community Edition available now". June 26, 2018.

External links[edit]