BARCELONA -- Jolla's 8-inch tablet created something of a frenzy on crowdfunding site Indiegogo late last year,. The tablet will be shipping to early backers in the coming weeks, but we went for a closer look at it here at Mobile World Congress.
The tablet's standout feature is that it runs the latest version of, rather than Android or Windows. It's an attractive, uncluttered interface that makes strong use of gestures for navigation. Swiping in from either side when you're in an app, for example, will take you to the home screen. A swipe up from below, regardless of what you're doing on the tablet, will bring up the apps tray.
That quick access makes it extremely easy to switch between apps, without having to return to a home screen first. It's this multitasking that Jolla is particularly proud of. The home screen itself displays recent apps in a grid, each of which shows live information -- recent emails, calendar appointments and so on -- so you don't need to open an app to see what's new.
Speaking of apps, although you don't have access to the Google Play store for the hundreds of thousands of apps it contains, the Jolla Tablet does support a large number of Android apps, downloaded from third-party app stores. At the time of writing, Jolla wasn't able to tell me exactly how many Android apps will work, but Netflix, Spotify, Twitter, WhatsApp and Linkedin are all there, along with various other big names, so you shouldn't find it lacking.
The lock screen shows app notifications too -- unless you have a PIN set -- and when it's in standby mode, a double tap on the screen wakes it up, meaning you don't have to scour the edges to find the power button.
Specs-wise, it's not at all bad. The 8-inch (well, 7.85-inch) screen has a 2,048x1,536-pixel resolution which made everything look very crisp, at least in my hands-on time. It was bright enough to counter the worst of the light pouring in from the 24th-storey window too, although how it fares under direct sunlight remains to be seen.
Inside it's running on an Intel quad-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz, a 5-megapixel camera sits on the back, and there are 32GB or 64GB storage choices available. A 4,450mAh battery provides the juice which should be plenty for a full day of use. Physically, it seems well put together, with a sturdy -- albeit not the most stylish -- back panel and rounded sides.
Early backers on Indiegogo were able to snap the tablet up for only $189, although it's due to go on general release later this year for $249, which converts to roughly £160 or AU$320, from Jolla's website. It'll ship globally.