Finnish guy makes a DIY solar other half for Jolla Phone

| January 9, 2014 | 61 Replies

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 20.05.01

What we’re looking at is one of the first interesting ‘other half’ mods for Jolla Phone. This is a small project that ended up with a solar panel bit on the back of Jolla phone.

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 20.05.15

More pics:

I remembered last night that I had solar panel in my scrap box. The size was perfect for Jolla and a quick test proved that it can be used to charge Jolla too:

- voltage is about 6 V (measured with multimeter)
- panel outputs 40-80 mA under a lamp (measured with multimeter)

I haven’t seen sun in a month or so here in Finland so the test was performed under 70 W halogen, distance ~10 cm.

I have to test the Solar Half more, but it indeed seems to be working rather nicely


Cheers Janne for the tip!

Category: Jolla

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]

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  1. Telefonul Jolla primeşte o carcasă cu panou solar | Service iPhone Apple | January 10, 2014
  1. Janne says:

    This is so cool. Not the solar panel itself (Nokia did that in the mid-1990s for 1600 or some such) but the hobbyist spirit. Well done!

    The Other-Half support with its I2C connector and the proliferation of 3D printing will certainly offer very interesting community opportunities around Jolla! :)

    • tom says:

      Yes, hobbyist – only hobbyist – this is Jolla BIG problem

      • jiipee says:

        Well, that is better than situation, when not even hobbyist are interested ;)

        Such TOHs can be feasible to order even in small patches after the more homemade prototypes, if one wants to find positives. (Janne, did you notice?)

        • Janne says:

          You always were more positive about Jolla… ;)

          But I’ll take all the positivity available, so good! :)

          • jiipee says:

            Well, Ive stated my reasons. Since I am myseld a struggling entrepreneur I can relate better to Jolla (and Ive seen the monstrous corporations in action within).

            I had to take a part-time job, which also means that Im more or less forced to become convert: Im gonna get 1020 as a company phone next week despite the headache WP UI gives me. I might ask support in deactivating most of the UI animations and a way to decrease the header font ;)

      • Shaun says:

        Yes, it’s a big problem. Hobbyists building stuff in their garages from off the shelf parts won’t get anyone anywhere.

        Can you imagine Apple or HP doing that?


        • Roman says:

          Even if they don’t become another apple, being a viable niche player is a success on its own way (although even that much is a big challenge) Catering to hobbysts might help in that regard. Catering to the dumb mass with non-unique device line-up is what I would abhor.

          • Janne says:

            Indeed. And I worry that Jolla has been maybe a bit too focused on going big in some of the early PR… Going “small” might be a really good idea too.

            One great niche idea IMO: Jolla could make a “J900″, a Linux computer in your pocket like N900. There certainly is nothing like that currently on the market.

            • burning nkia jumper says:

              Frankly Jane Jolla already is the full Linux computer in your pocket. Some even know how to connect via USB external monitor and keyboard, however this is useful only for some coders currently. This is the second the lowest computer/PC after the ResberryPI. Note that Second Half is already ready docking station. Jolla Sailfish MeeGo endless possibilities.

              • Random Random says:

                External keyboards and monitors are quite irrelevant for the mainstream.

              • Janne says:

                How is that external monitor, keyboard and mouse in my pocket?

                N900 had a basically mouse-precise (sharp stylus), keyboard (hardware qwerty) computer in my pocket. Plus a desktop-grade browser – MicroB is probably the closest thing to desktop-like browser on mobile ever.

                Jolla has none of these three things. It needs hardware keyboard, digitizer for stylus and a desktop-grade browser like MicroB was, then we can start talking about similar what N900 did. Also, Jolla needs heck of a lot more landscape support for those computing tasks.

                Jolla could, over time, make their “J900″. I hope they do. So far, they not trying that at all – they are trying for a mainstream form-factor with a still niche offering. It might make more sense to try a great niche form-factor instead – or at least in addition.

        • JGrove303 says:

          Correction: Apple got started by stealing parts from IBM and Atari.

          Your point is just as valid though. 👍

      • burning nkia jumper says:

        Steve Jobs was a hobbyist, only hobbyist… what a problem… for Apple…
        Bill Gates was a hobbyist, only hobbyist, he was to be a lawyer… what a problem… for Microsoft…
        Angry Birds were made by a hobbyist, only hobbyist… what a problem… for Roxio…
        Linus Torsvald was a hobbyist, only hobbyist… what a problem… for Linux…


        Wikipedia is made by hobbyists, what a f…n problem…

        HEAVENS, THE WORLD WAS MADE BY THE GOD SO BY THE HOBBYIST, only hobbyist… what a problem… (haven’t hear about professional making worlds by the GOD)

        here comes salvation….
        The only one professional among all the hobbyists!
        We are saved!!!
        Let’s celebrate…!

        • Random Random says:


          I guess I should educate you about this one, but since you are probably unable to learn the lesson, I will not do it this time.


          • JGrove303 says:

            No one appreciates your didactic, condescending posts, RR. You are not educating anyone. And as you sand here, a Finnish Expatriate.

            As a self proclaimed “Mobile Literate,” one would believe you would support Jolla’s endeavors. No, you just criticize their every move and the community behind them.

            In summation: Random Random, you’re such a dick.

            • Random Random says:

              No one?

              That’s a quite bold statement. Is that the old arrogance waking up?


              It’s easy to pick up the mobile illiterates. They are usually persons who don’t see the needs of the people but only the features.

              They truly are ignorant.

        • tom says:

          Are you crazy? ;)

  2. xerxes2 says:

    Pretty cool project. Also today the first alpha of Warehous was released:

    Looks really good already! :) Still a few features missing and some bugs to fix but it works pretty good already.

  3. GordonH says:

    Great idea.

  4. Shaun says:

    There’s an OLED rear display other half also on I think this is the first to use the I2C bus and an app to control the screen.

    • Janne says:

      There is also a project there to build a keyboard TOH, although that seems quite far from anything that might reach fruition anytime soon.

  5. Roman says:

    Cool. Many think that DIY manufacturing is the future and in 10 years everybody will own a 3D printer as they did with text printers. Jolla would well to do to cater to those early (not necessarily SW engineer) adopter folks by providing: easy and intuitive API for the software integration bit and a HW component part (and driver part) that could be inserted into the manufactured half part a la Lego Mindstorm driver component.

  6. burning nkia jumper says:

    This shows that not only devs are active and recognise Jolla/Sailfish MeeGo attractive but also engineers, hobbyists and others… Here comes a reflection: what the Nokia’s R&D Department would invent for Jolla’s Second Half? What we would be surprised with? That could be miracles…! And here comes next reflection: Elop and M$ have done everything for to not let it happen…

    So: happy sailing Jolla!

    • Random Random says:


      I guess it might be nice to live in a dream world like you are living. But then again maybe not since that’s making you quite bitter.


      • Carbontubby says:

        One solar charger and keyboard Other Half does not an ecosystem make. These projects are fine for tiny companies and hacker devices like the N900, but they’re irrelevant for a mass market manufacturer like Jolla. After all, isn’t that what the company is aiming for, mass market acceptance worldwide for Jolla phones and Sailfish?

        They’re a long way from that unfortunately, with both hardware and software. Better to take those blinkers off and evaluate Jolla critically, because they just might go under and take those fanboy dreams down into the depths too.

        • Shaun says:

          Hint: There’s nothing wrong with having a mainstream design AND allowing access for software and hardware hackers.

          If you can get that you might understand what Jolla are trying to do.

          • Random Random says:

            Actually yes there is.

            Let’s pick the game consoles as an example.

            The more closed the console is, the less it has people cheating in games. That same can apply to the multiplayer games played on the mobile phones.

          • Janne says:

            Well, in reality the problem even Jolla will face when trying to peddle an open mainstream platform are the operators and their locking requirements.

            Already Jolla lost one war when they updated the phones to lock the bootloader. We assume, pressure from operators, not just to fix a security hole.

            Time will tell how can Jolla walk the tightrope on this. Maybe they can, but it definitely isn’t going to be just a walk in the park.

            • Carbontubby says:

              They locked the boot loader? That’s a nasty one considering Android Nexus devices don’t have this, unless it’s an operator-locked version.

              My point was that I wanted to see real Other Halves at launch, not some DIY projects by weekend hobbyists. Jolla should have showed some prototypes at least of what can be done with the OH I2C connection.

              This question keeps coming back into my mind: what is Jolla’s aim? Does it want to keep being a hacker-friendly small manufacturer or does it want to challenge the big boys?

              • Shaun says:

                I don’t see why it can’t be BOTH hacker-friendly AND challenge the big boys.

                Those two are not mutually exclusive.

                • Janne says:

                  Limited resources might dictate otherwise.

                  As could operator deals.

                  For example, in Finland Jolla won’t sell spare parts to hackers because of an exclusive deal.

                  • burning nkia jumper says:

                    hmmm, I suppose some spare parts can be ordered via internet from somewhere else then Finland? Do you think that really would be a problem? (if one would really want to order it)
                    And if operator would have some income then I think would sell it also perhaps.
                    I doubt if hackers need spare parts very often… ;)

                    • Janne says:

                      Hardware hackers certainly might.

                      And incidentally we are discussing this in a thread about Jolla hardware hackers.

            • Shaun says:

              They’ve already said why they locked the bootloader. It *IS* because of a security hole. They disabled fastboot mode to prevent ‘Evil Maid’ attacks where people can boot the device from USB bypassing the phone unlocking mechanism.

              The regression is noted in the release notes of the last release.


              You can read more analysis at

              If you’re not happy, you can reverse out that release by resetting to factory which brings back a previous version that still has fastboot available. It’s mostly of concern to kernel developers who push new kernels onto devices over USB.

              They’ve also said they will re-enable it once they’ve a fix.

              I don’t think you need to assume it was because of pressure from operators. I would imagine that knowing of these ‘Evil Maid’ attacks and Jolla execs visiting China often, having their devices fully locked would be quite handy.

              • Janne says:

                You seem to believe what you want to believe.

                Rest of us share a concern – how well can Jolla insulate itself from the demands of operators.

                When not even Nokia could.


                • burning nkia jumper says:

                  Have you heard about Inception?

                  I think this is option some hardly demand while some hardly want to be disabled just for every case.

                  Sailfish can be adjusted to operator’s requirements and personalised. It is more then flexible IMHO.

                  • Janne says:

                    I’m sure it can. The problem is how open Jolla can or want to keep the product once business dealings start affecting things (and they already have in the case of exclusive repair deal).

                    Now, no need to read too much into it. Jolla probably can stay pretty open in some fashion or another. But certainly the concern is there once operators start making their demands.

                    • Carbontubby says:

                      Which is why I prefer Canonical’s approach of making a powerful pocket computer which happens to make calls. Rumor has it that they’ve partnered with Meizu in China to release something similar to the crowd funded device idea they initially had – the latest SoC, lots of RAM and loads of flash storage to create a pocket computer that can run a desktop when docked with external displays and inputs.

                      N900 + Moto Webtop + Psion 5MX = my dream ;)

                      That way, they’re not too hampered by operators’ whims and fancies which led to abominations like Aegis. After all, there are millions of rooted and unlocked Android devices worldwide, yet operators still can’t keep them off their networks. Jolla keeps talking about openness as one of its strengths… I figure that’s one promise they can’t keep if they want to do operator deals, especially in a tightly regulated market like China.

                    • v.s.i says:

                      It’s an interesting approach indeed, if the MX-3 rumours are to be believed, also showing how Shuttleworth didn’t really need to pull that Ubuntu Edge publicity stunt (but he did nonetheless, Canonical has had a penchant for Apple for some time already). Still, I doubt Exynos 5410 delivers enough power to push desktop-grade smartphone apps, however few of them happen to be running. Even then, it will be just the start. There’s the anemic battery and of course the fact that Ubuntu has even less phone apps than Jolla to brag about =))

                      Also, it doesn’t have LTE and the bezels are a bit on the fat side. But overall, in spite of the generic design, it would look like the HW solution for their OS is a bit more promising than what Marc & co. have come up with.

                    • Carbontubby says:


                      This comment system is messed up! Now that’s out of the way, I agree with you completely. Instead of jumping into a crowded market, Canonical has decided to sidestep it and make their own niche. I don’t mind the fat bezels and lack of LTE, I just want it now ;)

                      That Exynos 5410 runs on one of the Chromebooks, I think? Anyway it should be fast enough to run Firefox on ARM, along with Thunderbird for email and whatever IDE you want for coding. Those aren’t desktop-grade smartphone apps, they’re actual desktop apps. I wouldn’t want to use the phone for actual compiling though.

                      I also don’t know how Ubuntu Touch will handle switching from smartphone mode to desktop mode – will it use the same touch interface but in different sizes like Win8′s Metro, or will it load a totally different mouse/keyboard centric desktop environment?

                    • burning nkia jumper says:

                      Ubuntu is one of most popular Linux distro.

                      My doubts are about their approach which seems they want to exclude Ubuntu from Linux mainstream and made architecture closed but not so compatible – they want to follow Microsoft policies with Windows so user/dev would not have any possibility but only use Canonical tools and software. Similar to well known Microsoft way.

                      Ubuntu has made a part of desktop sreen to be identical with a phone display and this way they want to combine them – as I know in my limited knowledge.

  7. Finnish guy makes a DIY solar other half for Jolla Phone – My Nokia Blog
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