Jolla did built up a strong connection to Android from the very beginning, which in deed was very much welcome as it brought the famous Android compatibility of SailfishOS, allowing us fellow sailors to install and run Android Apps smoothly on our beloved Jolla Phone.
That is one part of the story. Now, during the last months and weeks, Jolla turned pages and arrived with the next step, introducing the Jolla launcher for Android phones and hence, twisting the picture by 180°.
The idea behind that seems clear. Spreading Jolla to Android seems logical somehow, hopefully even some Android users will get attracted to switch to SailfishOS completely, however, let us look a little closer and go for some scenarios and thoughts…
1. What does Jolla launcher bring on Android
I didn’t try myself, maybe I will, but reading through reviews some little points come clear quickly. Even though Jolla launcher brings the general look as well as some usability features such as swipe in to home from SailfishOS to Android, it seemingly remains a hull.
Some elements such as swipe gestures, pulley menu and other unique SailfishOS usability elements are definitely hard to be ported fluently to an Android launcher as this one depends on Android and Android App functionality in the end, which is particularly different from Sailfish/Jolla.
Finally – at least that is, what it seems like – it remains Android functionality with not much more but a few extra gimmicks inspired by Jolla.
On the other hand, compared to „real“ Android launchers, Jolla launcher has some heavy disadvantages – such as not being able to show widgets… Now one could say, that Active Covers can easily replace widgets, but Android Apps of course do not support Active Cover actions and, I am not sure about this point, I believe, that native Sailfish Apps do not run in Android environment… (does anybody know more here, whether Jolla launcher includes some compiler or interpreter for Sailfish Apps?). So basically what remains are „Active Covers“ which show a small screenshot of the open Android App, that’s it – and that is not much more than the multi-tasking view of Android offers.
So all in all, in a nutshell, it seems like Jolla launcher will have a tough job to convince as a launcher for Android and position itself against some quite brilliant launchers which make full use of the Android features… I personally believe it would be much better to focus on real ports of Sailfish to other phones than to go for such launcher experiment, which in worst case will disappoint people trying it because they just don’t get „the real Jolla“ experience…
2. What does Jolla launcher bing for SailfishOS?
Pretty much based on the assumptions made above, I have a feeling that Jolla launcher has a strong potential to create a totally wrong impression about Jolla/SailfishOS and make people discard Jolla even instead of teasing them to turn towards Jolla/SailfishOS.
Apart from that, Jolla launcher might also disarrange the focus of the fellow Sailors. Looking to Twitter and Social Media, Jolla seems to turn towards this new highlight during the last days/weeks. News about Sailfish become rare whilst launcher seems to get pushed. Of course, there is a much stronger user-base behind Android, so from a marketing point of view, Jolla launcher may seem to be the most interesting aspect of Jolla these days, to spread and get a stronger appearance.
However, we need to consider that also native SailfishOS on Jolla phone is still having some teething troubles and seems by far not 100% ready these days. So bringing in an additional focus might easily slow down development on that end, which is the crucial end for the success of SailfishOS and Jolla, the development of SailfishOS itself and the Jolla phone.
To date Jolla launcher is alpha stage and only selected users are invited to use it as testers. However, once it is open to public, I see some chance, that launcher users will exceed Sailfish users… I hope that Jolla doesn’t lose focus there and development of SailfishOS remains the main task.
So… long text, short result, I believe, that Jolla launcher for this moment might be that one step too much which makes it hard to keep focus… and I hope I am totally wrong…
What do you think? (Would be nice to learn more about your opinion also in the comments)