Could Sailfish OS be Nokia's Plan B?

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Nokia N950 running Sailfish OS

Sailfish OS is the Linux-based mobile operating system developed by Jolla for use in its upcoming smartphones. But then, who is Jolla, you might ask?

When Nokia shut down Symbian and MeeGo, they had to lay off lots of workers. The Finnish company started what they call the Bridge programme to support the establishment of new start-up companies by some of the former Nokia employees. Well Jolla is on the Bridge Programme. Jolla is a company that was started by some ex-Nokia employees and is part of the Bridge Programme. This means that while everyone else have their eyes on Nokia and Windows Phone, behind the scenes, Nokia and Jolla are talking and quite friendly. So, Sailfish is not exactly something that Nokia wouldn’t be interested in.


Nokia’s leaders have mentioned that they have given thought to a Plan B should the Windows Phone strategy fail (the gods forbid; right?). Lots of people would wish that this Plan B is Android. But I do not think so. The Android market is saturated already, and there is now a dominant Android OEM by the name of Samsung. No; it looks to me that it would be foolhardy for Nokia to make Android their emergency fall back.

This is where Sailfish OS comes in. Here are my reasons:

  • Sailfish is based on MeeGo, a platform that Nokia already has competence in
  • Sailfish will be compatible with Android apps thanks to built in Alien Dalvik layer. This will help address the issue of availability of apps
  • Sailfish as backup plan would make sense, as Nokia’s Bridge Programme means that they have some influence in how it evolves
  • Sailfish as backup would be efficient and cost-effective, as Jolla would handle all the platform’s development and R&D work, leaving Nokia free to face the business of churning out handsets

Yes; it is all speculations and permutations (D’oh!), but it certainly would make sense. At least, to me. But again, we just might never know though.

Still, whether Nokia ever falls back on Sailfish or not, I am a fan of that platform. Currently, Sailfish offers the following unique user experience features:

  • “effortless multitasking,” allowing users to switch between running applications directly on the home screen e.g. being able to shut down an app without having to open the app
  • “Pulley Menu,” a pull-down feature, not for notifications, but rather for sharing

So far, Sailfish looks like something right up my alley. Nokia or not, I hope that we get to see devices running the OS in this neck of the woods. 2013 is looking more and more exciting.


  1. I wish nokia all the best. Just like first love, nokia was my first smartphone and whenever I hear bad news about them it touches me.

  2. Excuse me.
    Nokia is working with Jolla? Or to quote you “Nokia and Jolla are talking and quite friendly”

    I was under the impression that Jolla is a company entirely independent of Nokia. If they were working with Nokia, they would have rights to use the Meego/Harmattan UI of the N9, but Jolla has stated several times that they have nothing to do with the N9 because it’s Nokia’s property.

    Also during the live demo of Sailfish OS last week, I barely heard any mention of Nokia at all. Jolla is gonna work hand-in-hand with a Chinese company (maybe more) to release Sailfish OS and phones.

  3. I For One Think There May Be a Place For It The Market From What You Said Its Compatible With Android Apps That Might be A Big Plus I Reckon That May Be This Is Nokia’s Answer To Android If They’re Truly In Bed With Jolla

  4. “effortless multitasking,” allowing users to switch between running applications directly on the home screen e.g. being able to shut down an app without having to open the app

    Hey, I thought old Symbian was quite capable of this!

    …That word d’oh confuses me in the context you used it in, unless it has another meaning

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