Jolla, the smartphone startup founded by ex-Nokia engineers, is set to sell its first handsets from today in Finland, with availability in other countries to follow.
The Jolla handset runs the Sailfish OS, which is itself based on the former MeeGo platform developed by Nokia and Intel several years ago to produce Linux-based smartphone software.
Jolla confirmed that the devices will go on sale today at an event organised by Finnish telecoms operator DNA. The firm did not indicate when it would be available elsewhere, but has previously said that it has received online preorders from 136 countries.
The device sports a fairly mid-range specification, with a 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor, 1GB memory and 16GB of flash storage, plus a 4.5in 960x540 in-plane switching (IPS) touchscreen with Gorilla 2 Glass.
It has the usual mobile network support, including GSM/3G/4G support that is good across 6 continents, 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth, 8MP autofocus rear camera and 2MP front camera. SIM-free pricing is expected to be €399 (about £330).
However, the main differentiator for the Jolla handset is its Sailfish OS platform. Its gesture-based user interface has been designed to support live multitasking, according to the firm, with a startup wizard that guides the user to select the applications they actually want rather than the device coming preloaded with bloatware.
Jolla also promised that frequent system updates will be provided for the Sailfish OS platform, which will be available for install over-the-air. It also integrates Nokia's Here mapping and positioning technology.
Availability of applications can be a major issue for new platforms launching into the increasingly competitive smartphone market, as BlackBerry has been discovering with its BlackBerry 10. However, Jolla users can download Android applications from the integrated Yandex app store and run these thanks to a built-in Android runtime provided by Myriad Group AG, Jolla said.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.