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Jolla’s latest update to Sailfish OS brings a number of key enhancements

Why it matters to you

Startup Jolla's Sailfish OS is looking to capitalize on interest from international markets. Updates like these are a major step toward achieving that goal.

Finnish mobile startup Jolla has announced a new update to its Sailfish OS that brings a number of long-awaited features to the platform. The 2.1 release, nicknamed after Finland’s”Iijoki” river, is now available for early access, according to a post on the company’s blog.

Headlining the additions is the ability to copy and paste inside Jolla’s browser, and a redesigned camera experience that improves autofocus and speeds up the shutter animation. The update also introduces experimental VPN functionality for OpenVPN, OpenConnect, and VPNC, though Jolla says right now it’s intended only for experienced VPN users to collect feedback. Support for common platforms, like PPTP and L2TP, will come at a later date.

More: Do you want Jolla’s swish new smartphone? Tough luck, you can’t have one

Elsewhere, 2.1 sports user experience enhancements, like the ability to change text scaling across Sailfish, as well as “basic implementations” of 64-bit architecture and a number of performance improvements, particularly with respect to app startup speed.

Like so many companies that have come before it, Jolla continues to face the unenviable dilemma of how to build user adoption of its mobile operating system without the extensive feature set and mature development community offered by iOS and Android. It’s a mountain that many others, from Blackberry to Microsoft, have failed to climb, despite having exponentially greater resources and market presence at their disposal compared to what Finland’s spiritual successor to Nokia has to work with.

For that reason, updates like this one are a major boon for emerging platforms like Sailfish that are trying to play the catch-up game. In recent months, Jolla has courted hardware manufacturers in Russia and India to license its software, and the firm found particular interest from the Russian government, which is seeking to lessen dependence on foreign-built mobile devices.

To this end, local tech firms with national backing will reportedly work with Jolla to develop a custom version of Sailfish made for Russia, though it will still contain the same core code. Last November, the nascent operating system was certified in the country for “government and corporate use.”