Finnish Firm Signs With Yandex
Published: December 4, 2013 (Issue # 1789)
The long-awaited unveiling of Jolla phones took place in Helsinki on Nov. 27. The first batch of 450 smartphones from the start-up Finnish mobile device developer Jolla was delivered to those who had pre-ordered the phone. The phone is due to enter the wider Finnish market in early December.
The company launched the phone in May this year, receiving pre-orders from 136 countries.
The new phone uses Nokia’s HERE mapping technology with apps for the Jolla phone available through Yandex.Store, which is run by the Russian internet giant Yandex.
“Jolla’s strategy is always to work with the most respectable service partners in specific markets and create long-term strategic partnerships. We analyzed a number of alternative Android app stores to use for our first markets in Europe, and quickly found out that Yandex’s offer is very competitive and that they are very interested in developing their app store together with us for the needs of Sailfish customers,” says Jolla CEO, Tomi Pienimäki.
Jolla phones will be available for wider distribution once the phones hit the shelves of DNA stores in Finland.
The company has also hinted that it may be opening its own store “in due course.” The phones will be also sold online directly from the manufacturer.
“We have truly made a phone to the best of our ability. I’ve got high hopes,” said Jolla co-founder Marc Dillon to the Wall Street Journal.
Forbes, the global business information provider, predicted that the Finnish smartphone maker will be one of the key “disrupters” on the smartphone markets this year, alongside Firefox and Unbuntu Mobile.
Coming on the heels of Nokia’s sale to Microsoft, Jolla is the latest Finnish high-tech device to emerge from the country that long dominated the field of mobile communication.
Forbes compares Jolla’s smartphone, inspired by Nokia’s MeeGo platform, to sports car manufacturer Ferrari, and believes that the company can be profitable with lower sales numbers than traditional mobile manufacturers.
Headquartered in Helsinki, Jolla was founded by a group of ex-Nokia employees and has developed its mobile devices and an open operating system known as Sailfish based on MeeGo and Mer Core open source projects. In addition to its research and development sites in Helsinki and Tampere, Jolla has offices in Hong Kong and is establishing research and development operations in China.
The phone retails for 399 euros and Jolla’s operating system is able to run Android applications.
“Demand for the Jolla has truly exceeded our expectations. The atmosphere at this event is a pretty strong sign that the Jolla is a welcome alternative on the mobile phone market,” said Cedric Kamtsan, manager of the Jolla project at DNA, speaking at last week’s launch.
The operator DNA holds the exclusive right to sell Jolla phones in Finland during the mobile’s launch stage.
“So far, development has been the challenge for Jolla, but a new challenge is gathering market share. It’s not in any way an easy field” Jyrki Ali-Yrkko, Research Director at the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, told Finnish public broadcaster Yle.
“The company is up against the major players Google, Apple and Microsoft, but also smaller newcomers are entering the market, like Mozilla and Ubuntu.”
Jolla told Yle that it aims for sales of around 20,000 phones in 2013 and around 200,000 phones during the first year.