A month with Sailfish 3 on Sony XA2

A month with Sailfish 3 (beta) on Sony XA2

For nearly a month now, I have been really enjoying running Jolla’s SailfishOS on my Sony XA2. If there is a future for a mobile phone system that is more privacy-oriented and less dependent on big corporations, then this could a great candidate.

As expected, there is an “app-gap”. However, within a few weeks, an updated version of SailfishOS3 which can also run Android apps is expected (some, but not all). There’s hope for my HP 12C financial calculator emulator! Nevertheless, there is a good selection of high-quality apps. Most of them are written by true aficionados. Feedback is appreciated and feature requests incorporated swiftly.

Practical experience

For me, the phone wasn’t entirely ready as a ‘daily driver’. I depend too much on actual telephony, and that is still a bit wonky, because of the proximity sensor not working properly. Also the missing fingerprint reader and the lack of some messaging apps turned me off.

However, after office hours I would often take out the phone and play with it, just to see the array of new apps and of course to check if any updates came out.

Article on VICE

US publisher VICE Media published an in-depth article on Sailfish and the company behind it Jolla.

Natural life-cyle of mobile operating systems

In the rise and fall of mobile operating systems, a six year rule was coined by Rafe Blandford, see Steve Litchfield’s 2013 article on AllAboutSymbian (remember Symbian?)

Perhaps a 10-12 year life cycle is more realistic now, but it’s certain that all mobile operating systems have their natural cycle.

It will be interesting to see if Sailfish can break the current duopoly of iOS and Android. If it does, there will be an alternative European mobile eco-system.

Update January 2019

Just before the end of January, Jolla released a beta version of Sailfish X, which includes support for Android application until 8.1 (with caveats though, the most important being the amount of tweaking that is needed to work around the absence of the Google Play framework).

The version brings the actual OS up to version 3.0.1.14 (Sipoonkorpi). Predictive text is also an important feature in this version (although it does bring annoying behaviour on the keyboard - the keyboard always follows the language of the interface, i.e. QWERTZ for German, AZERTY for French and so on).

I don’t much care for the Microsoft Exchange Support, perhaps there is a use-case though.

Extensive release notes and discussion can be found here. For a limited amount of time, the OS costs only € 29.90 rather than € 49.90. It will still update to the full version once it is out, and obviously buying it now provides much-needed support to fledgling Jolla.

As I have stated before, I think a European mobile OS is important for the overall innovation ecosystem in Europe so I will continue to follow progress on Sailfish. I am hoping to write a more extensive review on 3.0.1.14 once I have used it for about a month.

Sailfish Start Screen

Sailfish App Drawer

Sailfish App Updates

Update August 2019

Fortunately, I managed to fix the annoying behaviour of keyboard, the process is documented in this article - still working fine as of Sailfish build 3.1.0.11 (Seitseminen).

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Wian Stienstra
ICT, Strategy, Marketing and More

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