Jolla stocks new online store with Sailfish smartphones for Europe

Jolla phones sold through the store are expected to ship from early January

Finnish smartphone start-up Jolla has launched its online shop, where European customers can buy its first device.

The shop is for now open to consumers in European Union countries, Switzerland and Norway, selling the Jolla smartphone for €399 (US$545) including VAT.

All pre-ordered devices will have been shipped to E.U. customers by Christmas, whereas the shipments of new orders from the stores will begin in early January, according to Jolla. The company has suffered some delays due to "technical logistics issues." Consumers who buy the smartphone in the online store can expect to receive their Jolla smartphone in two to four weeks, Jolla said.

Jolla was founded in 2011 by a group of former Nokia employees who wanted to continue the development work the phone maker had done on the MeeGo operating system. The smartphone has a 4.5-inch screen, an 8-megapixel back camera and LTE.

However, it isn't with hardware, but with the Sailfish OS -- which still comes with a beta tag -- that Jolla hopes to convince users to choose its smartphone over competing products. The OS makes extensive use of touch gestures: users can swipe from either side of the phone to get back to the home screen and close an app by swiping from top to bottom. Users can also check for social updates in the so-called Events view, which is accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

The Jolla smartphone has been designed to look like two thin slabs that have been bonded together. The OS can detect and interact with electronic components in the phone's back cover, which can be used to add features or content and change the look, a concept Jolla calls "the other half." Users can also change the color of the back with different snap-on covers.

To help boost the availability of apps, the OS will be able to run Android applications.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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