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Jolla's Android-aping Sailfish OS smartphones to land in November

Linux-mad ex-Nokia bods prep mobes for Helsinki launch

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Finnish startup Jolla has revealed when the first batch of its Sailfish OS–based smartphones will be available to customers, along with new information about what software will be on offer when the devices ship.

On Thursday, the company announced via Twitter that the handsets will go on sale in Finland first, thanks to Jolla's partnership with local carrier DNA. The devices will hit retail shelves in Helsinki on November 27, with a price tag of €399.

Jolla plans to begin shipping the phones to customers who preordered them shortly thereafter, with the goal of getting them into all European preorder customers' hands by the end of the year. Customers who ordered them from other markets will have to wait awhile longer, as ship dates for countries outside Europe have not been announced.

In a separate press release, Jolla also disclosed new information on its Sailfish OS software stack and what customers can expect from the Linux-based system at launch.

For starters, Jolla phones will come with support for Nokia's HERE mapping and positioning technology preinstalled. That's not much surprise; Helsinki-based Jolla was founded by former Nokia engineers, and the HERE services division is one of the pieces of Nokia that will remain in Finland following Microsoft's acquisition of its former smartphone business, making a partnership between the two companies a natural fit.

Jolla also gave more details on its promised Android compatibility layer. Sailfish OS devices will be able to download and run thousands of Android apps, the company claims, but they won't do it from the Google Play store. Instead, Jolla phones will ship with the alternative Yandex.Store, which currently hosts more than 85,000 apps.

The Android support software itself was developed through a partnership with Myriad Group AG, a Swiss company that develops software for mobile and embedded devices. Among Myriad's offerings is Alien Dalvik, software that gives handset makers "access to the previously unavailable Android ecosystem ... without the constraints of full Android adoption."

In addition, Jolla will provide its own developer ecosystem for native Sailfish OS apps. The Sailfish SDK will be available free of charge and developers will be able to submit apps to Jolla Harbour, the company's app publishing portal, also at no cost.

In an interesting wrinkle, Jolla claims that its store will accept submissions of Android apps in addition to native Sailfish OS apps. El Reg wasn't able to see this in action, however, because as of Thursday, Jolla Harbour appeared to be accepting account applications but logins were not yet working. ®

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