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[Wiki] Features missing before I would recommend Jolla (to non-techies)

asked 2014-02-03 22:18:09 +0300

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This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2015-02-22 13:33:32 +0300

I love my Jolla, but I think a few features are missing or confusing for non-techies. Below is a list of things that should improve or be implemented before we would recommend Jolla to others. In other words, features that are commonly expected on Smartphones.

Note (@avdwoude): The numbers in the front are the votes each question had collected. f it has an 'R' after the number it indicates the roadmap tag is present. I thought this would provide some more information to this overview. These numbers and roadmap status were last updated on "22 February 2015", and I will try to update them after each Sailfish release. It is good to see this list is getting smaller with each release.

Do you have anything you believe is necessary before you would recommend Jolla to others? In other words what are currently considered standard features on a smart-phone that Jolla lacks?

Note: This question is similar but not the same: https://together.jolla.com/question/15102/what-is-most-embarrassing-in-your-jolla-device-what-makes-you-not-show-it-to-your-friends-if-anything-really-the-top-things-no-minor-issues/

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Copy/Sync of contacts did work with several devices - Android is not MultiTaskAlike - I could use pictures from both parties in some android file picker - MMS is getting more and more obsolete but agreed - browser works as already shown - never occured to me...so one point is still valid and not a bug but a missing feature, so why don't all your friends have a jolla again? (btw syncing contacts doesn't even work from apple to apple or others as expected)

chemist ( 2014-02-03 23:25:05 +0300 )edit

"Show individual Android apps in the "running apps" screen. It is highly confusing that an Android app seemingly vanishes when you open another one.": Is not this exactly the behavior on pure Android phones? When you open an app, the other app goes into the background. You even have the standard Android icon to access the background and can kill the app in the background or leave it up to the system to kill it when the resources are required.

Only because Sailfish apps behave differently, this does not mean that Android apps can suddenly change their behavior. (Well, they could, if each one would run in its own Android environment -- eating up the corresponding resources.)

jgr ( 2014-02-03 23:26:19 +0300 )edit

@jgr I am not advocating a change in the way android apps work, nor how alien-dalvik deals with apps. I do understand that on Android only one app runs at any one time. What I am really saying is that the 'show open apps' list shown by appropriate icon in Android apps should be integrated with the 'running apps' screen on Jolla. I would be most happy if it would even only show a screenshot as it does not in that Android specific list. If Alien-dalvik would decide to kill the app, instead of removing it from the screen, it could merely restart the app. Admittedly that could be confusing too. Some integration is all I ask instead of duplicating UI/UX. But I am sure the Jolla sailors are aware of this issue and working towards a solution. I know I would if I would work for Jolla. :-D

avdwoude ( 2014-02-03 23:53:17 +0300 )edit

Like on BB, that is less confusing for non techies.

BonoNL ( 2014-02-04 01:35:04 +0300 )edit

The need for MMS support is highly localised. No one in my country uses MMS, but apparently it's in common usage in e.g. Switzerland?

lauramanes ( 2014-02-12 20:06:48 +0300 )edit

21 Answers

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answered 2014-02-21 00:44:01 +0300

vattuvarg gravatar image

It is a bit sad, but with the world being what it is right now I would recommend Jolla phones as they are to people dear to me, even if they are considered non-techies. In fact, I already have. The alternatives may have more of everything and in a polished package too, but they always come with some kind of contract to seal in blood. I prefer seeing wild sailing fishes in their hands rather than chains around their wrists tied to shiny robots or beautiful white marble walls around a secret garden with no exits.

I have even asked for a smaller phone so that my fiancé and our two children also can have good phones that fit their smaller hands.

Enough of the pieces are done. I am typing this (rant?) on a phone that would have brought tears of joy to advocates of open source two years ago. Now it is a real tool that touch by touch spells the text that you will read. It's a phone that keeps the doors open, unlike the competition. There is a unlocked passage down to the machinery below. There are i2c lines to connect things.

There will always be bugs and missing pieces, but with Jolla and Sailfish the road ahead doesn't belong to someone else, it is forever open. It might not be impressive yet, but it doesn't need to be either. Even if the way to the future is a tiny path it will still get you further than any chains or walls.

OK. You can start voting me down now. But everyone that buys a Jolla phone will be a techie. ...and they will probably like it as much as I do.

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The Best Answer I've read in this thread.. ;)

foss4ever ( 2014-02-21 00:58:02 +0300 )edit

Brilliant answer! I couldn't agree more. I should really start advertising that aspect of the Jolla phone more to my friends.

avdwoude ( 2014-02-21 01:26:09 +0300 )edit

I agree with a smaller device. Currently, I assume, most of Jolla customers are male and techie. Males sre used to carry the mobile in pockets. This mobile is a bit to big, and its edges to hard to have it comfortably at that place. I do not think I would buy this form factor again.

kodiak ( 2014-02-22 11:30:15 +0300 )edit

Agree, while not all parts of my Jolla phone are open source (yet?), it is the most open plattform of those I know about and consider usable. When people ask me for a smartphone that will just work and have all the stuff like the Apple and Android stuff does, I would not recommend them to buy a Jolla thoug. At least not without a warning to expect a great, but work-in-progress kind-of device. I would like a smaller, more "smooth" hardware for my [organic] other half as well, though.

Nirkus ( 2014-04-25 17:07:55 +0300 )edit

Yes please to "smaller phones"! Great reply

andreibechet ( 2014-10-09 11:20:59 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-13 10:05:56 +0300

ymb gravatar image

updated 2014-02-20 14:15:15 +0300

For me the two major things stopping giving Jolla a "go for it if you want something new and different" recommendation are;

  1. working 2 way calendar sync for more calendar types (but especially CalDAV)
  2. On device tutorial app (used to be there apparently but got removed by an update)
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The tutorial app is on new devices pre-installed. CalDAV will come in a future update.

chemist ( 2014-02-14 15:09:17 +0300 )edit

Both are on the list. Do please add votes to the relevant questions, it is not useful to vote on them in this discussion.

avdwoude ( 2014-02-20 01:32:55 +0300 )edit

the tutorial app seems to appeared in march update again

ortylp ( 2014-03-17 23:52:17 +0300 )edit

yep, came back for me as well :)

ymb ( 2014-03-18 17:21:58 +0300 )edit

yes, I agree. As long as CalDAV and CardDAV are not supported, there is only very limited use of a Jolla phone (very sad, that the Jolla officials don't see that, but they won't survive, if they don't change that YESTERDAY! Syncevolution is no solution (I didn't get it run together with Baikal, being myself an experienced Linux administrator, even following the nice tutorials, which are linked in this forum at different places). So the conclusion is: WebDAV support tomorrow or die (very sad)!

thomas ( 2014-03-26 12:43:08 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-13 08:32:02 +0300

k79 gravatar image

All phone users are different - and they want to see different features in their phones. However, there is a de-facto "standard" set of features which every modern smartphone shall have, as avdwoude has pointet out.

I can tell what is missing from that "standard" (in addition to missing features already listed by the topic starter) IMHO:

  1. Individual ringtones for contacts. It is so handy when you can see (actually, hear :-) who is calling without a need to look at the screen!
  2. Displaying caller's avatar on an incoming call
  3. DLNA sharing: play from and play to
  4. VPN support (yes, I'm a corporate user)

In addition to "generic" smartphone features, it would be really nice to have some easy way of moving files between Android apps and native Sailfish apps. OK, you can do it already now, but not an easy way. I can do it. My Mom could not.

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  1. never used personally, but know that it is often asked for
    1. already is done (at least if there is an avatar associated with that contact
    2. not asked for so far (at least i could not find it with quick search or two)
    3. More of an app thing than base system
ymb ( 2014-02-13 17:00:10 +0300 )edit

IIRC, during the incoming call the caller's avatar is displayed like an atmosphere - blurred, dark, in the background. This way it is hard to see it, especially in the bright light.

I think I already saw DLNA or Miracast request here, at together.jolla.com... Regarding VPN - I agree, this is more about a corresponding app than a base system feature. Drop it from my list then.

k79 ( 2014-02-13 17:06:45 +0300 )edit

@k79 Is DLNA really a 'standard' feature nowadays? Isn't it something that might be in high-end smartphones only?

avdwoude ( 2014-02-14 13:57:56 +0300 )edit

@avdwoude Well, to me it _is_ a standard feature :-) And don't we want Jolla to be as feature rich as high-end phones?

OK, I can live without it. The other missing features I have mentioned are much more important for me.

k79 ( 2014-02-14 15:06:46 +0300 )edit

Just noticed a new app in the store "upnpplayer" - An application that can control dlna media renderer

ymb ( 2014-02-17 18:07:03 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-17 10:28:52 +0300

2Ti gravatar image

updated 2014-08-10 10:03:22 +0300

1. Proper support on all three major OSes (that's OsX, Linux and Windows preferably in that order) for USB file transfers. I really like the phone but it is simply incredible that there is no way of transferring files from/to the phone on OsX without installing specialist software or turning on developer mode and fiddling with SSH/FTP. This is a really really basic feature and should work immediately out of the box. You plug the phone in and the SD card pops up as an external disk without having to install anything. [Note: Is on the list of the main question]

[] The changelog for the update mid March says that MTP now shows the memory card, and works with iPhoto on Mac. This is true, but does not fix the issue. The camera does not store images on the SDCARD so all that shows up in iPhoto is an empty folder. Furthermore the sdcard itself does not show up in Finder or Disk Utility, this is not a fix for USB file transfers on OSX.

[] I just noticed that the iPhoto sync has started working. USB connection (PC connection, no dev mode) opens iPhoto, which loads all pictures from the device. Works at least on iPhoto 9.5.1 and 8.1.2 running on 10.9.3 and 10.6.8 respectively. Haven't seen any mention of this in the release notes.

2. The OS update available message really needs to stop popping up after the OS has been updated. I've been using since it came out and regularly see the update available message. This just creates an aura of unreliability around the software. [Fixed in]

3. General polishing of the OS. This is one of those things that separates really good software from average software:

  • separate controls for haptic feedback between pulley menus and the virtual keyboard (link)

  • being able to define separate signatures to email accounts (link) [Fixed in]

  • being able to open or navigate to the pulley menu quickly from the bottom of a page or long list of things (here), (here) [On the list] and (here) [On the list].

  • UI element for connecting to WPA2 WiFi networks such as eduroam (this is already supported, just the UI element is missing) [On the list]

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Seconding your first point, trying to connect Jolla to my Mac was when I fell out of love with the phone, hoping it gets fixed soon. I ended up taking SD out of the phone to transfer files, really breaks the experience.

orjans ( 2014-02-18 20:58:23 +0300 )edit

Easily the most important for me. With no easy way of syncing files between a Mac, or even to transfer them back and forth, it would be hard to recommend Jolla with many of the people I know (there are lots of Macs around these days). Even getting photos into iPhoto does not work, unlike just about every other phone out there.

Setok ( 2014-02-18 22:32:40 +0300 )edit


  1. Added the Mac OS support to the list. I think MTP is supported on all recent Linux and Windows systems right?

  2. Reappearing updates: Do you consider this an issue that prevents you from recommending Jolla? I'd say it is a nuisance, and does add an unreliability aura as you said, but I wouldn't consider it a reason not to recommend Jolla. You? BTW, any other discussion on this topic should go to: https://together.jolla.com/question/5184/system-update-notifications-keep-re-appearing-although-update-already-installed/

  3. Polish would indeed be good. But would you consider any of the issues you mentioned as a reason not to recommend Jolla?

avdwoude ( 2014-02-20 02:18:41 +0300 )edit


  1. Linux requires libmtp installed, I don't which distros come with it installed and which don't

  2. It's a nuisance to techies but any non techie will get horribly confused about this, and come find me as I am the one who recommended the phone, then starts the explanation "well, you know it's a small bug ... blaa blaa blaa".

  3. Polish is very important when it comes to "normal" users as the slightest snag will usually stop them in their tracks.

2Ti ( 2014-02-20 10:19:23 +0300 )edit


1+2: Come to think of it, I did need to install libmtp and such. Any way, they are now on the list.

3: Couldn't agree more, but polish involves many small (and sometimes larger) issues to be resolved. So I don't think it can be added to the list, as it is too vague. Instead we should raise up any ideas we have for improvement as seperate questions so the Jolla sailors can do their thing with these ideas. If we tag them properly with ux, ui and such they should be easily found.

avdwoude ( 2014-02-20 14:06:53 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-16 11:28:01 +0300

weareunlike gravatar image

SailFishOS/Firmware updates that don't require the user to open a Jolla account.

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Should we consider this something that is a blocker to recommend Jolla? I do see your point, and agree with the general principle behind it. But I am not sure if I would consider this a blocker for recommending Jolla? This got some votes, so it seemingly has some agreement. Any additional thoughts (without reiterating what was already discussed in the relevant question https://together.jolla.com/question/26057/why-is-it-required-to-open-an-account-in-order-to-receive-software-updates/)

avdwoude ( 2014-02-20 01:31:32 +0300 )edit

It also gets some (or at least one :) downvotes. Don't think this is important at all...

Setok ( 2014-02-20 02:01:39 +0300 )edit

In my opinion this is the most important foundation for the whole Jolla philosophy. Foster freedom? Don't like walled gardens? Then please do not track, monitor, store and distribute the data of Jolla users. The money paid for the phone was not enough and Jolla needs to make more through selling data? How about a service/maintenance package. Even a monthly or annual subscription (e.g. whatsapp). I'd be happy to buy it. But without a Jolla account please. I cannot recommend the Jolla phone.

weareunlike ( 2014-02-20 23:26:44 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-16 13:02:33 +0300

Cosmic_Kakapo gravatar image

updated 2014-02-16 17:13:14 +0300

  • being able to directly access the expandable memory when the phone is connected to a computer
  • being able to create folders/sort items (such as photos) from the phone
  • Fully functional GPS - one that works with weather apps, maps etc.
  • A proper, functional maps app
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What do you mean by "proper, functional maps app", what is missing from the maps that makes it improper and unfunctional. Don't get me wrong, I agree with your sentiment, it's just that it would be helpful to know what you consider proper and functional.

2Ti ( 2014-02-18 11:40:58 +0300 )edit


avdwoude ( 2014-02-20 01:59:11 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-16 23:23:55 +0300

ortylp gravatar image

updated 2014-03-17 23:50:46 +0300

Lets start small: working email and IM applications?

At the moment the completely broken email (https://together.jolla.com/question/8329/email-increase-reliability-and-robustness-of-the-email-app-and-im/) is the reason I cannot use jolla as my main phone.

Update 17.03.2014: The synchronisation bug seems to be fixed with

But there is still a privacy breaking one: https://together.jolla.com/question/3758/mail-application-ask-to-load-images-in-email/

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I must say email works very good on Jolla using IMAP on different accounts.

Strahlex ( 2014-02-17 20:55:17 +0300 )edit

It does not for me, and it is problem with Jolla, all other email clients, including these on N900 and N9 do work.

ortylp ( 2014-02-17 21:52:52 +0300 )edit

Good one! I have added it to the list.

Please do provide any additional comments on this issue to the question that @ortylp provided a link to.

avdwoude ( 2014-02-20 01:37:04 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-17 16:30:01 +0300

Richie Cotton gravatar image

Support for

  • cut/copy/paste
  • changing directory permissions

in the file browser app.

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Have you tried the "Cargo Dock" app? It allows cut/copy/paste I think. It doesn't seem to allow changing directory permissions. Perhaps you could contribute to this discussion: https://together.jolla.com/question/1169/update-filemanager-copy-paste-delete/

Besides that comment, I wonder if this is something that would prevent you from recommending Jolla to others? Seems like the kind of thing you wouldn't do too often. But than again, not having it can be annoying when you do need it.

avdwoude ( 2014-02-20 02:26:58 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-17 22:34:07 +0300

Cmdr_Zod gravatar image

updated 2014-02-17 22:34:24 +0300

The missing default reminder in the calenar is really one of the things that prevents me from using it as my main phone, and it is something I have never seen in the past.

This unusual behavior will probably hit every business user very bad sooner or later via a missed event.

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I have added it to the list.

avdwoude ( 2014-02-20 02:34:00 +0300 )edit

I always hated the need to disable the reminder every time I create new events on my N900, so please make this optional :)

nodevel ( 2014-03-20 11:53:18 +0300 )edit

@nodevel Please add comments to the relevant question instead of here. This question is just an overview of issues and not meant for discussion on the individual issues.

avdwoude ( 2014-03-22 13:06:51 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-12 20:59:05 +0300

this post is marked as community wiki

This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2014-02-12 20:59:05 +0300

TimTTK gravatar image

I see no any reason why Jolla couldn't be recommended to any non-techies.

For missing features and usability, IMHO fixing "essential" bugs and providing the "basic features" that work without problems is propably the most important thing.

Personally I value the most that Jolla can be honestly used as a proper "phone" for doing "basic stuff" like taking and receiving calls, sending SMS, MMS (which doens't work yet), reading emails etc. which it does quite nicely overall on most parts. Then for me comes the using of browser, useful apps etc. But this is just my own own preference.

But eventually trying out Jolla yourself is the best way to see how it actually feels like and what is propably missing.

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Indeed, the question is about what minimal expected features should be present in a phone as is generally expected from a smartphone by a large majority of users.

avdwoude ( 2014-02-12 21:15:45 +0300 )edit

no, jolla is usable as phone, not as smartphone. I still have to copy the app settings to the new location aftter the jan update.. why should I do that manually when jolla broke it? A config data migration app would help

c.la ( 2014-02-14 14:08:57 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2014-02-03 22:18:09 +0300

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Last updated: Apr 09 '15