Jolla reveal strategy, UI and Qt Creator-based SDK at Slush 2012
Jolla is once again foremost in the minds of many mobile OS enthusiasts and open-source aficionados with more information being revealed regarding their strategy and future. The launch of their official website and a slick video partway between a teaser and a product video give a definite sense of progress and should inspire confidence in everyone holding their breath for a product launch.
The developer story, as suspected, rests around Qt and QML with both Qt Mobility and QML being supported for native application development. Their Mer-based SailfishOS has a downloadable SDK available to anyone interested in compiling the Qt Creator-based offering (which your editor will be doing tonight).
The UI demonstration caught most of the attention, however. The impressive demo showed off a UX that will be familiar to any Harmattan user with swiping - described as "pushing" by the Jolla team - as the primary interaction theme with the device. The demoed UX showed swiping between multiple homescreens very similar to Harmattan, although oriented up/down instead of left/right and currently lacking a notifications screen. Of particular interest, the task switcher view features both reduced-information application previews (to provide information to the user while the application is not in the foreground), and the ability to interact with those applications using swipe gestures without having to bring the application into the foreground. The experience struck this editor as very fluid, intuitive, and fast. Jolla's implementation of swiping, much like Nokia's, seems a significantly more touch-appropriate interaction method than, what one blogger described as, "Apple and Google's gorilla-finger heavy approaches".
At least two of the demonstration videos available show Sailfish running on a Nokia N950. Although Jolla has no plans to release an image for the N9 and N950, it will be interesting to see what the community comes up with based on the available sources and SDK.