Android rival Jolla hits crowdfunding target for first Sailfish OS tablet

Finnish smartphone manufacturer Jolla has passed its Indiegogo crowdfunding target -- in just over two hours -- for its first tablet, a 7.9-inch slate that runs Sailfish OS, rather than Android.

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Andrew Lanxon
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Finnish smartphone manufacturer Jolla has successfully taken to crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to seek funding for its new Jolla Tablet. The campaign hit its $380,000 goal in just over two hours of going live. Although the first batch of the 7.9-inch tablets have sold out at a price of $189, a small number of $199 tablets are still available at the time of writing and are due to ship in spring next year.

The tablet itself is a 7.9-inch device, with a 2,048x1,536-pixel resolution, a 1.8GHz quad-core Intel processor and a 5-megapixel camera. Most importantly however, it runs Sailfish OS, an operating system based on Linux and developed by Jolla, initially for its smartphone .

Sailfish is visually and functionally very different from Android or iOS. Navigation is based mostly around swipes, and Jolla COO Marc Dillon told me that its biggest benefit is in its multitasking ability.

Instead of having to switch between active apps, Sailfish OS is able to show multiple live apps on screen at once. When watching sports, Dillon explained, you'll be able to see your social networks on-screen at the same time. I haven't used Sailfish on a larger-screened tablet yet, but with the extra screen space, this feature seems like it would be beneficial.

As it's not an Android tablet, Jolla Tablet doesn't have access to the Google Play store, but it is compatible with many Android apps. You get them onto the slate using third party app stores like Apptoid or the Amazon app store, both of which house a range of big names like Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter and even Netflix.

Sailfish OS was first properly debuted on Jolla's smartphone, released at the end of 2013. Although the phone hasn't reached the sort of dizzying sales the iPhone 6 achieved, it was only available in limited quantities in Finland, parts of wider Europe and, more recently, Russia. The tablets will ship to the UK, wider Europe, the US, India, China, Hong Kong and Russia. The wider availability will at least help make it an option for more tablet customers, although how it stacks up against the iPad Mini or similarly-sized Android tablets like the Nexus 9 remains to be seen.

Dillon explained that Jolla is using Indiegogo for the tablet's launch as the company wants feedback from users on features that should be included in Sailfish -- feedback that will be similarly encouraged once the product is on sale.

Update 11:25am GMT: Added details of the campaign's rapid success.