BARCELONA, Spain--Jolla, the Finland-based developer of the Sailfish mobile operating system (OS) talked up its potential as a viable alternative to Google's Android, as the company announced that Snapdeal.com--India's largest e-commerce marketplace provider--has become the first company to sign up to its partner programme.
The Indian company joined Jolla's Sailfish Alliance, a programme that Jolla chairman and co-founder Antti Saarnio told FierceWireless:Europe is a key development in terms of scaling availability of Sailfish beyond the hardware Jolla produced in-house to demonstrate the capabilities of the OS.
In an interview here at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Saarnio said the limits Google sets on what users can place on the screen of Android devices are a major problem for the industry today.
"People usually don't know how contractually limited Google partners are," he noted, explaining that Sailfish is, in contrast "an independent, open platform."
Saarnio said a key difference between Android and Sailfish is that Jolla has "built a…user interface that has a special place for the partners…to put their own service there."
Jolla is taking a regional approach to signing up partners, Saarnio said. Thus, the Snapdeal.com agreement enables the company to "start building a regional Sailfish Alliance for India so that all the device vendors from India can join this and all the content leaders…can also join."
Licensing Sailfish to third party OEMs is a "new phase" in Jolla's development and is "essential in order for us to scale this software," he said, adding. "Somebody else has to be shipping Jolla devices, not just Jolla. That's the proof point that we are actually scaling."
While India is the first market where Jolla has reached a partnership deal, Saarnio said the company is exploring other markets and is enjoying strong interest from Russia, which is seeking an alternative to Android. The company is also talking to "all the big Internet players in China" regarding a similar deal to Snapdeal.com.
Jolla is already also seeking to utilise Sailfish for more than just mobile devices, Saarnio said. "[W]e are, of course, aiming in the long term to introduce Sailfish OS in other areas like, we are talking today about Internet of Things and smart homes. So our main message today is that we are not collecting user data, we are privacy aware. This operating system fits to the home as well, no-body wants to share the home data, and as well I would say that Android doesn't fit to the home because of the exact same reason.
"So we are going to have an Internet, mobile Internet at our homes, that's the big new area that we want to keep growing, but that's of course…we need to have multiple resources and partnerships…to do it, but that's a kind of a vision."
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