Jolla Works With Finnish Team Behind Nokia And Huawei Smartphones

THIS POST HAS BEEN EDITED DUE TO SOME FALSE INFORMATION QUOTED FROM ANOTHER TECH BLOG.  PLEASE READ HERE FOR FURTHER UPDATE.

It comes via ZDNet that Jolla have indeed been working with a Finnish company called ‘Infinity’ who were the design team behind great phones like Nokia‘s qwerty-slider symbian-based E7.

The Finnish team who are also behind a number of Huawei handsets including the recent Android Ascend (which was shown off at this years MWC) have been working with Jolla for the past 6 months to tailor the perfect Jolla smart phone for release later this year which will be accompanied by their own homegrown linux-based Sailfish OS.

It is also indeed very fitting that the Finnish-based Infinity have worked previously with Nokia on designs such as the E7 which closely resembles Nokia’s MeeGo developer phone – the N950 – a phone Jolla have been providing all of their Sailfish demos on until now.

But can we assume from this information that Jolla are maybe going down the QWERTY slider route ?  Personally, I think with many manufacturers (even Nokia!) abandoning the QWERTY option from their line-ups, it maybe unlikely although maybe not entirely impossible.   Perhaps we could expect more of a compromise like My Dream Jolla Device which incorporates the best of both worlds with its modular detachable keyboard much like the MS surface PC ?

Whatever the answer we are sure to find out as Jolla’s plans unravel over the coming months ahead.   I have reached a point where a full touchscreen phone does the job well enough for me as long as the keyboard is highly responsive and finely tuned, however having the option to be able to connect an external keyboard (for hardcore typing) that could also integrate with the device (either ‘slider’ or ‘folder’ to protect the screen) would be an absolute bonus!

With these exciting new announcements in mind, I’d love to hear your thoughts. :-)

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  1. I hope for a detachable keyboard like in Asus’ Transformer series of tablets. That would be best of both worlds in one phone. But it might be difficult to make…

    One other button related thing:
    I hope for a physical home button, and the possibility to disable the gestures. I love using gestures on my N9, but my girlfriend just hates them. They make the phone unusable for her. And sometimes I’d like to disable the gestures myself, and just use a home button like everybody else.

    I hope Jolla does some usability and accessibility research, and hope it leads to the optional home button!

    • That’s interesting as most people I’ve spoken to just love swiping and the minimalism feel of very human based gestures. With swipe, most of the time the home screen is only one swipe away so it’s not really that different to a physical home button. :-)

      • Also my parent weren’t able to use the phone, when they tried it. They have touchscreen smartphones (by Nokia), but the N9 swipe is too abstract for them, and it requires too much control of your fingers. The swipe is for people with good finger dexterity. That’s why there should be an option to turn it off and just use a regular home key. Other parts of Sailfish would still work in the same way. A home button would make the phone more appealing to a wider audience, who doesn’t care what phone they have, and how it works. Otherwise it will be a niché product, meant for just the design and computing people.

        And for myself it is sometimes annoying to push on buttons that are really close to the edge. Sometimes the screen just bounces as it thinks I’m trying to do a swipe. Of course this is an UI design issue on the apps themselves, but there will always be apps for Sailfish which will ignore swiping issues (such as Android apps compatibility).

        And that’s another thing: How will the Android menu/back/search -buttons be integrated in the physical design? Or will they just be software buttons that appear when you are using an Android app… Probably just software buttons…

        • You make some good ‘real user’ points there and I can agree that for older generations who are used to keypads etc, not having a button might seem quite alien. But then again I also hope that when I’m older I will still be willing to learn new tricks (but ask me again in 15 years I might have changed my mind by then lol). :-)

          I have used eg. ported android apps on another system and in that case, the OS basic elements still applied and software buttons wern’t necessary and I hope it may be the same in Sailfish. For instance with the system I used, you swiped up to exit the ‘android’ app and this worked and other options worked the same as native apps.

          In terms of swipe – you’re right there can be some downsides when the OS isn’t polished. I have tried two swipe systems, and for example if you are playing a swipe based game you sometimes swipe too far and come out of the game screen back to the phone UI. But in this case I have had the same issues with a touch button phone where I swipe for the game play and accidentally touch the home button etc so I’m not sure there is much difference.

          I don’t think swipe alone will define whether something is a niche product or not… implemented well a swipe-based OS can easily be mainstream and is the future – what’s more important is a solid overall product in terms of hardware, software support, availability of apps and good distribution channels.

          Just my two cents… thanks for the input :-)

  2. I think its always better to have a dedicated slide out hardware keyboard like nokia e7 or droid or similar other models. The thickness of E7 and other similar phones is decent and not too much.
    If the phones get too thinner like glass panes (especially crappy samsung galaxy s3 or LG nexus etc. . ), its not that easy to hold them. We have to hold those huge phones just with finger tips. All the force for holding is concentrated on thin edge creating huge pressure on finger tips. So we will always have fear of the phone slipping and dropping off the hand in our minds. (especially with nexus from lg and samsung galaxy s2 onwards and razer seris of motorola).
    I tried using my friend’s LG nexus and when it came to holding i was holding just with finger tips. . and after an hour of usage i got pain in the joints. These thin slabs of glass or not ergonomic. Same is the case with Samsung galaxy s3.
    I would personally prefer phones which are not too thin but some thing which is firm to hold and fits properly in hand (able to hold it with entire palm and not just use finger tips to hold) with rubber coating on aluminium or magnesium alloy so as to have a natural and confident feel when using the phone with out feeling of phone slipping off hand.

    • You’re right – the E7 design is very slim for a slide-out qwerty and has very nice ergonomics in the hand. I also find the wafer thin phones unnecessary – I’m not sure why reviewers are so quick to criticise or judge based purely on thickness – surely a phone should just be judged on how comfortable it is to hold ?

      • I agree with you. Many of review sites show phones side by side and gives thumbs down to phones that are slightly thicker. They like materials like brushed aluminium and other exotic material which are very slippery.

        I personally used i phone and personally hate the aluminium metal finishes. There were many instances of my i phone slipping off hand because of the little sweat that comes when phone heats up while playing games like fruit ninja for long.

        My understanding is we go and design by what reviewers say. . we will get an exotic piece of art. . not a phone that you can use daily with out any hesitation. When we hold a phone we need to have the confidence while using not a fear of holding some delicate and fragile thing.

        In that aspect Motorola defy and defy plus are really good. they are slightly thicker easy to hold and have an ergonomic rubber coating that prevents slipping. but again its a pure touch phone. . :(

        Also another interesting form factor was made by Motorola called Motorola back flip. It has a physical keyboard which can be flipped back and used. An interesting feature of this form factor is the ability to integrate a track pad on back of screen so that the content on the screen can be scrolled very easily without our fingers blocking the screen, It was a great phone except for the rubber keypad (which can be made better) and poor configuration.

        Another advantage of this form factor is ability to use a single camera on the keypad that eliminates the need for front facing camera. When we need to do video chat the keypad can be folded out and used as front facing camera, under normal use the camera is usually on the back of the phone. Kindly check that.

        all the best jolla guys. . .

    • +1 to everything Roshan says: built-in slide-out keyboard, phone size / “handability”, non-slip surface.

  3. This is indeed good news! Hopes for a phys keyboard goes up. A slideout would seal the deal for me without any doubt even if I’m already convinced that I will buy the Jolla phone when it comes out anyway.
    I would never go buy a slow and laggy android phone today, not when the future looks so promising. Ubuntu phone, Firefox OS and best of all Sailfish. They’re all in a totally different division in many aspects compared to the alternatives today. Best of all is the Qt based devkits. Mobile future looks bright.

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  6. Why not make a cover where the keyboard can be used to protect the screen, like some Android – use use the USB connector. Once you provide a protective cover, make one with a huge battery. Draw a line and say “This is the core device” and then “if you want bells and whistles, this has also been considered”..

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