BARCELONA, Spain -- Jolla announced that device manufacturer Intex Technologies is set to launch the world's first smartphone to run on a licensed Sailfish OS operating system by the end of April.
The Finnish mobile company said Intex Technologies' Aqua Fish smartphone, which was unveiled here at the Mobile World Congress, is a major step forward for a regional strategy that includes a heavy focus on offering Sailfish to users in BRICS countries.
In a statement, Jolla said the Aqua Fish smartphone offers a previously unseen concept covering the way premium, locally relevant, content is integrated directly into the smartphone's user interface. So-called Super Apps will be available to users via a single swipe from the device's home screen, in a bid to boost the user experience, it explained.
Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, mobile business head at Intex Technologies, said Jolla's Sailfish OS "is a young mobile OS; a challenger with a lot of promise."
Jolla also announced an alliance with Mauritius-headquartered device maker mi-Fone that will see the vendor launch its first Sailfish OS-powered device in the second quarter of 2016 alongside a tailored service package.
Antti Saarnio, Jolla's chairman, said the Sailfish OS can be "a strong independent building block" towards providing a much needed mobile ecosystem customised for the needs of African subscribers.
"mi-Fone as an African brand is a natural device partner for us," Saarnio explained, adding. "When we then integrate leading banks, e-commerce platforms and other services into Sailfish OS we can truly offer something meaningful for consumers."
Alpesh Patel, founder and CEO of mi-Fone, said Jolla's operating system offers his company "great opportunities to build differentiation and develop locally relevant offerings."
The device maker predicted that its "African consumers will appreciate Sailfish OS's focus on openness and privacy," Patel added.
Jolla rounded out its MWC announcements by revealing it is evaluating the possibility of a commercial collaboration with Fairphone, a Netherlands-based social enterprise formed to push for greater fairness in the consumer electronics sector.
The companies have moved to the evaluation stage following work to port the Sailfish OS onto Fairphone 2, the social enterprises' second smartphone that utilises modular components to improve its longevity and ability to be repaired.
Fairphone CTO Olivier Hebert said that making the Fairphone 2 "an open development platform has been one of our major ambitions from the start," in order to "foster innovation and research into new mobile software technology and applications."
Herbert added that a large proportion of the group's community has expressed an interest in Sailfish OS, and that Fairphone "will continue supporting the community to port Sailfish OS to the Fairphone 2."
- see this Jolla announcement (PDF)
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