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Finnish Sailfish/Android tablet rivalry heats up

Nov 19, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 2,703 views

Jolla quickly hit the Indiegogo goal for its first Sailfish-based tablet, with a quad-core Intel SoC, while Nokia tipped a similar Atom-based Android slate.

After the MeeGo Linux project was killed off to make room for Tizen, and Nokia abandoned the smartphone-oriented Mer development branch of MeeGo it had used on the Nokia N9 in favor of Windows, several Nokia employees jumped ship to launch Jolla Ltd., which is also based in Finland. Jolla subsequently unveiled a Jolla smartphone in May 2013, running a Mer/Meego based Sailfish OS, and began shipping the phone by the end of the year. Now Jolla has already nearly doubled its $380,000 Indiegogo funding goal for a new Sailfish-based Jolla Tablet, which launched earlier today.

Sailfish-based Jolla tablet (left) and Android-based Nokia N1
(click images to enlarge)

The day before Jolla’s Indiegogo triumph, the Finnish company where Jolla was born had a triumph of its own. Having shed its mobile devices and services unit to Microsoft in April for 7.2 billion, freeing itself from Windows and Redmond-hatched CEO Stephen Elop, a smaller, more diversified Nokia jumped back into the mobile market with an N1 tablet. Instead of running Windows or the Mer build it used in the circa-2011 Nokia N9 smartphone, however, Nokia has turned to stock Android 5.0 (“Lollipop”).

Sailfish-based Jolla tablet (left) and Android-based Nokia N1
(click images to enlarge)

The two tablets have more in common that their Finnish roots. Both will sell commercially for $249, although at presstime there were still hundreds of $204 Indiegogo packages left for the Jolla Tablet (see link at the end of the story). Both tablets also run on quad-core, 64-bit Intel Atom processors, and both offer iPad Mini-like designs — especially the N1 — featuring similar, 7.9-inch 2048 x 1536-pixel Retina-like displays.

Jolla vs. iPad Mini vs. Nexus 9 vs Nokia N1 comparison
(click image to enlarge; source: Jolla)

The $249 pricing seems quite reasonable, especially compared to the $299 iPad Mini 2 or $399 iPad Mini 3. Jolla and Nokia were likely beneficiaries of Intel’s partial subsidization of its Atom processors for tablet vendors. Yesterday, it was revealed that Intel’s mobile division was being merged into its PC division after particularly poor earnings in the second and third quarters.


Sailfish-based “Jolla Tablet” smashes crowdfunding goal

If you act fast, may still be able get your hands on a $204 Jolla Tablet (plus $20 shipping) on Indiegogo with estimated deliveries in May 2015. If Jolla decides to move forward, it will then open a new round of pre-orders for $249, says the company. (“Early birds” funded the tablets for as little as $189).

Even at $249, the Jolla Tablet is much more aggressively priced than the dual-core, 4.5-inch Jolla Phone, which is on sale across Europe for 349 euros ($438). Funding packages for the tablet are limited to investors from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, United States, India, China, Hong Kong, and Russia.

Like the Jolla Phone, the Jolla Tablet runs the Linux Sailfish OS 2.0, which is not only touted for its open source licensing, Android app compatibility, and advanced gesture interface, but for its privacy (no potential backdoors for the NSA or its ilk). Jolla has switched from an ARM to an x86 foundation, using a quad-core, 64-bit Intel processor clocked to 1.8GHz. This appears to be the Atom Z3740 or Z3745.

Sailfish-based Jolla tablet
(click images to enlarge)

The Jolla Tablet is loaded with 2GB of DDR3L-RS RAM and 32GB of eMMC flash, expandable with a microSD slot. The WiFi-only tablet offers a 7.85-inch IPS touchscreen with 2048 x 1536-pixel, 330ppi resolution.

The tablet is further equipped with Bluetooth 4.0, GLONASS-ready GPS, 5- and 2-megapixel cameras, micro-USB OTG and audio ports, and multiple sensors. The tablet is thicker (8.3mm) and heavier (384 grams) than most. There’s no “Other Half” backplate customization, as with the Jolla Phone.

No battery duration was noted for the 4300mAh battery. Despite the power efficiency improvements in the latest Atom processors, battery life is likely to be shorter than with an equivalent quad-core ARM chip. Performance, however, will likely be equal or better.

Specifications listed for the Jolla Tablet include:

  • Processor — Quad-core Intel Atom (64-bit) @ 1.8GHz
  • Memory:
    • 2GB DDR3L-RS RAM
    • 32GB eMMC flash
    • MicroSD slot
  • Display — 7.85-inch IPS, 2048 x 1536 (330ppi) capacitive 5-point touchscreen
  • Camera — 5-megapixel rear ([email protected] video); 2-megapixel front
  • Wireless — 802.11a/b/g/n dual-band WiFi; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Sensors — GPS with GLONASS, accelerometer, light, proximity
  • Other I/O — Micro-USB OTG; 3.5mm audio
  • Weight — 384 g
  • Dimensions — 203 x 137 x 8.3mm
  • Battery — 4300mAh (3.8V)
  • Operating system — Sailfish OS (Linux)

The Jolla Tablet’s Indiegogo campaign video appears below:

Jolla Tablet introduction


Nokia debuts Android-based “Nokia 1” tablet

Nokia 770
(click to enlarge)

For its new N1 tablet, Nokia is sticking with the Nx naming scheme used with its earlier Linux-based products, including the N9 phone and the earlier, 3.5- to 4.3-inch N900 (Aug. 2009), N810 (Oct. 2007), and Nokia 710 (Dec. 2005) “Internet Tablets.” This is part of Nokia’s plans to aggressively use and license its well-known branding, which is still more widely known around the world than Microsoft’s Lumia branding.

Nokia N1
(click image to enlarge)

As part of the Microsoft deal, Nokia is barred from selling Nokia branded smartphones until 2016 and feature phones until 2024, but this week, Nokia said it will let third-party manufacturers create products and devices that use the Nokia brand. In fact, Nokia has licensed Foxconn, which is building the tablet, to use its industrial design, branding, and Z Launcher software, according to The Verge. As a result, “Nokia doesn’t own all the manufacturing or sales of the device,” says the story.

The tablet will first go on sale in China for $249 around Feb. 19, followed by launches in Russia and then Europe. No U.S. marketing plans were announced.

Nokia N1’s writing-based search
(click images to enlarge)

The Nokia N1, which is quite similar to the Jolla Tablet, looks even more similar to the iPad Mini 3. However, it is thinner (6.9mm) and lighter (318 grams) than either. Compared to the Jolla Tablet, it goes with a slightly faster Atom Z3580, with four cores clocked to 2.3GHz. It similarly provides 2GB RAM and 32GB eMMC flash. There’s no microSD slot for expansion, however.

The tablet features a similarly impressive, 7.9 inch (4:3) 2048 x 1536-pixel IPS touchscreen with “zero air gap.” Both WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 are available along with multiple sensors, but there’s no mention of GPS.

Nokia N1 dimensions
(click image to enlarge)

The cameras are better, at least based on megapixels, with 8- and 5-megapixel models. The tablet is touted for its Wolfson HD audio, accompanied by dual 0.5 W stereo speakers, a microphone, and an audio port. The micro-USB 2.0 port is one of the first implementations of the new Type-C reversible connector, which can be plugged in upside down, like Apple’s Lightning connector.

The tablet uses a stock, fresh-from-the-oven Android 5.0 build along with an implementation of Nokia’s new Z Launcher technology, which Nokia released as a free beta yesterday on Google Play. The adaptive launcher automatically loads apps that the software believes you will be using, depending on the time of day. The kicker is that you can “scribble” a letter onscreen with your finger or a stylus to bring up a related app, for example, drawing a U shape to bring up Uber.

Nokia’s teaser video for the Nokia N1 tablet appears below:

Nokia N1 teaser video

Further information

The Jolla Tablet is available for $204 plus $20 shipping on Indiegogo through Nov. 19, although there’s a good chance nothing will be left after a day or two. Devices ship in May 2015, followed by likely $249 pre-orders for the general public. More information may be found at Jolla’s Indiegogo page.

The Nokia N1 tablet will go on sale in China for $249 starting around Feb. 19, and will then expand to Russia and Europe. More information may be found at Nokia’s Nokia N1 product page.

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0 responses to “Finnish Sailfish/Android tablet rivalry heats up”

  1. jezra says:

    Hopefully neither of these two tablets will be anti-owner to the point that the owner of the device can not install the OS of their choosing on the device.

    oh, and “MeeGo Linux project was killed off to make room for Tizen” [citation needed] 🙂

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