And so, a day before I leave for Italy for my Summer vacation, we’ve got some… News about Jolla. The company just put out a press release, announcing a focus shift.
Jolla Ltd., the Finnish mobile company and developer of open mobile operating system Sailfish OS, today announced a change in its company structure and management as further action toward company’s strategy to focus on Sailfish OS licensing and development.
As of today, the company Jolla Ltd. will concentrate on the development and licensing business of the independent and open mobile operating system Sailfish OS. A new company will be established to continue Jolla’s device business, where the company sees a specific interest from privacy-aware consumers and corporations around the world.
The press release – of course – frames this as happy news, but years of experience in covering technology (or just years of not living under a rock, really) has taught me that moves like this are never borne out of desire, but out of necessity. Combined with several delays of Jolla’s tablet and of Sailfish 2.0, it’s hard not to conclude the company (companies?) is facing bleak times.
I haven’t exactly kept my displeasure with the slow pace of progress regarding Sailfish development a secret, and I’ve had worries about the company’s future for a long time now. The Jolla phone is now 19 months old, and it wasn’t exactly flagship-quality to begin with when it was first released in December 2013. While there’s been considerable updates to Sailfish 1.0, it, too, is now 19 months old. In addition, the promised support for paid applications never arrived.
One also has to wonder just how wise it was to focus on building a tablet. Tablets don’t get replaced very often, and they are a far smaller market than smartphones. In addition, adding a whole new form factor to support is surely to negatively affect the smartphone experience. Had the company instead focused on releasing a new phone, we might have had it sooner – no new form factor to develop – and we’d have a replacement for the under-performing original Jolla phone. Hindsight, though, right?
Regarding the tablet:
Jolla is committed to deliver the Jolla Tablet to its Indiegogo crowdfunding contributors and is working hard to start first shipments as soon as possible. “The software (Sailfish OS) part of the work is in good shape but we have been slowed down by supply issues of certain hardware components. We expect to solve this issue very soon,” Mr. Saarnio says.
I hope the company can stay afloat long enough to ensure we get our tablets (I ordered one within minutes of the announcement). Maybe things are not as bleak as I make them out to be here, but I’m not exactly getting the positive vibes.
I would highly recommend everyone that pre-ordered this hardware to cancel their order. It doesn’t seem wise to order hardware from a company that just announced they are getting out of the hardware business.
Their software seems to be okay, but if BlackBerry and Windows Phone and WebOS and all the others cannot make it in this market…just forget about Jolla/Sailfish