Developers should be paying attention — at the very least — to Sailfish OS

The Finnish startup Jolla announced this morning via Twitter that it has released Sailfish OS SDK installers for Windows, OS X and Linux. The SDK was trotted out at MWC in Barcelona several weeks ago, and by releasing installers Jolla hopes to encourage developers to build native apps for its OS.

Sailfish’s roots lie in MeeGo, which showed substantial promise until Nokia abandoned the platform in favor of Microsoft’s Windows Phone, and Jolla is led by former Nokia employees. Sailfish is compatible with Android apps with minimal tweaking, which could give it an edge in building out its app library (just as support for Android has increased the number of BlackBerry 10 apps). Jolla has secured distribution deals in China and India in addition to its home turf of Finland, and the first supporting handsets are expected to hit the market in the second half of 2013.

As my colleague David Meyer notes, Sailfish will face choppy waters this year as several other mobile operating systems come to market to take on Android and iOS. But while Sailfish is clearly an underdog in a battle that includes many heavyweights, it has a few important factors going for it. Mobile developers with ample resources should consider experimenting with building native apps on the OS, and those with more limited resources should at least be keeping an eye on it.