Sailfish OS is a Linux-based operating system developed by Finnish firm Jolla. It’s based on open source software, supports both native and Android applications, and has a user interface that puts a heavy emphasis on gesture-based navigation.
Right now there’s only one phone shipping with Sailfish pre-loaded. But soon you’ll be able to install Sailfish on a number of Android phones… or if you don’t want to replace Android altogether you’ll be able to just install an Android app launcher based on the Sailfish interface.
Jolla is a company that was founded by a group of former Nokia employees, and Sailfish is an operating system designed to pick up where the discontinued MeeGo operating system left off. Nokia abandoned MeeGo when it partnered with Microsoft to develop devices running Windows Phone software — and now Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Nokia.
So Sailfish represents one of a number of mobile operating systems that’s being positioned as a more “open” alternative to Google Android. It’ll go up against rivals Tizen, Firefox OS, and Ubuntu in the coming months and years.
Launching an Android app launcher might seem like an odd way to compete with Android, but it could provide a bit of a Trojan horse by giving Android users a way to test out the look and feel of Sailfish without wiping the data from their phones first. The fact that you can run Android apps on Sailfish could also help ease the transition… even if Sailfish users won’t have access to the official Google Play Store.
The app launcher isn’t available for download yet, but Jolla says it’ll be available soon from the company’s website and from “common Android market places.”