At MWC 15 Jolla focused on their crowd-sourced tablet which received plenty of positive feedback from visitors and won Trusted Reviews’ Best Tablet of MWC15 award. The hardware design with its specific characteristics sticks out the mass and offered with Sailfish OS 2.0 an unique product at the heavily Android-dominated Mobile World Congress.
The Jolla logo decorates the tablet’s matt surface on the back side and adds a nice touch to the simple and elegant design. The prototype’s plastic casing feels premium, allows a good grip and sits comfortably in the hand. Notable are the rounded sides of the tablet which follow the Jolla phone design and also remind of the Nokia N9. This works well together with the new Sailfish OS 2.0 interface that now mainly focuses on horizontal swipe gestures.
Sailfish os 2.0 on jolla tablet
Jolla has been working hard on improving the Sailfish OS user interface and in fact, it seems much easier to navigate the system. First time users certainly will understand the interface design faster. The UI looks less static due to small, fluid animations and visual hints whenever the user interacts. On top of that, Sailfish OS 2.0 looks without doubts more polished and beautiful than ever before.
According to graphic designer Zhidi Shang, Jolla’s design team has been working several months on collecting and analysing given feedback from Sailfish OS consumers and community. As a result Jolla decided to go away from the previous vertical menu navigation. Sailfish OS 2.0 UI is now closer to MeeGo Harmattan with a carousel-like horizontal UI including events view, multitasking view (home-screen) and optionally a partnership space.
New application grid
The application grid is available by swiping up and thus replaces the former events view – Sailfish OS 2.0 allows to access and open other applications at any time (without having to close/minimize the active application window) which in my opinion strengthens the multitasking-power of Jolla’s mobile system. And by the way, the colourful icons look very neat on the solid black background.
Improved events view
A lot has been done with the events view. Accessed by a left-to-right swipe, the user gets an overview of received messages, emails, social-media feeds and more. For reasons of clarity, same notifications are merged together but can be expanded. Next to that we have shortcuts to settings and application-features (which were not yet all the way functional on the demo-software).
Notifications on lock-screen look a bit different as well (see following photo). Whenever you “peek” from within the open application you see all your running apps in multitasking-view as well as these new notifications icons at the very same place shown in the photo below. Therefore Sailfish OS 2.0 combines the former peek-up (notifications + events) and peek-to-side (multitasking-view) into one gesture. If you swipe the open application away, you switch into multitasking view and the left-sided notification icons disappear.
Multitasking view and homescreen
Not much has changed visually in multitasking view. A notable factor is that cover actions aren’t triggered any more by the same gesture, but by clicking the icons. That seems less elegant but was changed to avoid conflicts with the horizontal UI swipe gestures. The order of multitasking windows is a bit different as well: Windows stay in order the way you opened them and aren’t re-arranged each time you view a running app.
New Ambience profiles
Sailfish OS 2.0 will include more thought out ambience-features and makes better use of the hole idea. The demo-software showed us examples of time-triggered functions and connection to Bluetooth-devices by switching ambiences. This is a great improvement and transforms ambiences into powerful profiles.
The ambience-switcher appears by swiping down, which eliminates the “swipe-to-close” application gesture. Jolla is aware that not everyone might like this change and are working on finding a solution – your feedback counts (visit together.jolla.com for that). It seems that swipe-to-close felt unnatural to many new Sailfish OS users who expected a pull-down menu instead of closing the application (like in Android or iOS).
Overall impressions of Sailfish OS 2.0 UI
Yes, Sailfish OS 2.0 is quite different and probably confuses long-term Jolla users at first. But the changes are easy and fast to learn (at MWC we got used to it within a few minutes) – the new UI certainly is more intuitive and you will easily find what you are looking for. Compared to last year’s Mobile World Congress it took less time to explain Sailfish OS to first-timers and journalists/reviewers had no struggle to review the devices and its software. It’s important for Jolla to have a software with a short learning curve that attracts people who are used to other mobile operating systems, instead of discourage them with to many foreign gestures. But Jolla managed to simplify the system, without losing the uniqueness of Sailfish OS – we liked the demo-upgrade a lot at MWC 15, on tablet and phone.
What are your thoughts about the Jolla tablet and Sailfish OS 2.0? Don’t miss Jolla User’s video-demo: