All the way back in May of last year, Jolla announced plans for the first Sailfish OS smartphone. Months later, in November, details of the phone’s launch finally arrived, and in December we had the opportunity to go hands-on with the device. But while the phone itself had landed, we still hadn’t had the chance to check out these “The Other Half” interchangeable backplates that had been touted as one of the phone’s biggest features – smart covers that wouldn’t just change the handset’s external appearance, but trigger software changes as well. There was even talk of The Other Half covers adding new functionality, like via a sliding QWERTY keyboard. Today we finally see the first of these covers go up for sale; are they everything we’ve been waiting for?
Well, that depends on what sort of features you were hoping to see. We still don’t get any The Other Half covers that actually augment the phone’s hardware; the two arriving this week are all about look-and-feel. When you attach them to the phone, the phone detects the cover via NFC and responds by changing wallpaper, audio effects, and other UI elements – it’s just like installing a new theme or skin, but done by way of a hardware accessory.
Right now, Jolla has two of these covers up for sale: aloe and Keira black. Each is available for what works out to about $40, or you can save about $10 by bundling one in with the purchase of a new Jolla smartphone.
This is a fine start – and we’re really just glad to see any The Other Half cases available – but we can’t wait for when the first of the more advanced, feature-laden cases might start becoming available.