Jolla, a smartphone start-up launched by former Nokia staff, has announced that unmodified Android apps will be able to run on its MeeGo-based Sailfish operating system.
The company promises that the Android versions of popular apps, including Instagram, WhatsApp, Chinese language chat app We Chat and Spotify, will be able to run directly on smartphones and tablets running Sailfish OS.
“Users enjoying the unique gesture-based and modern Sailfish OS user experience will be able to take full advantage of the Android application ecosystem available through various app stores globally,” Jolla says in a statement.
“Jolla will cooperate with leading global app stores to ensure users can seamlessly download Android apps just as they would do on any Android device.”
The company also claims that Sailfish OS, based on Nokia’s abandoned MeeGo platform, will be able to be installed on many common Android smartphone and tablet chipsets.
The start-up also announced that, after its first pre-order of smartphones sold out in August, it is offering a second batch of pre-orders for consumers in Finland.
Jolla’s smartphone includes a 4.5-inch display, 4G/LTE support, 16 GB storage plus a microSD slot, an 8-megapixel camera and replaceable back covers that change the colour of the wallpaper and icons.
The MeeGo platform was originally developed by Nokia as its next-generation smartphone platform in competition to Apple’s iPhone and Android, however, it was abandoned by its chief executive, Stephen Elop, in favour of Windows Phone.
Nokia’s decision to abandon MeeGo in favour of Windows Phone for its Lumia smartphones has been controversial, with former executive Tomi Ahonen attacking current Nokia CEO Stephen Elop over the decision.
Microsoft subsequently bought the mobile assets of Nokia, along with a licence to use its patents, for $US7.2 billion.
Jolla was formed by a number of former engineers and executives from Nokia’s MeeGo N9 division – they announced they had launched a company called Jolla and would continue developing smartphones based on the MeeGo platform.
Soon after, the start-up revealed it had secured a contract with China’s largest phone retail chain and raised $US258 million in funding.
The start-up expects its smartphones to begin shipping before the end of 2013, with the company now accepting pre-orders for the device. The company previously announced it would start by targeting European and Asian smartphone markets.