Finnish startup smartphone maker Jolla has successfully used the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to fund its new Jolla Tablet. The campaign, opened November 19, reached its $380,000 goal in just over two hours. As of this writing, the company has raised $748,614.
The announcement about the crowdfunding success was made at Slush 2014 in Helsinki on Wednesday, a day after the launch of the Nokia N1 Android tablet.
The 7.9-inch tablet has 2,048x1,536-pixel resolution, a 1.8GHz quad-core Intel processor and a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera. It weighs 384 grams and is 8.3 millimeters thick. The most significant technical aspect of the tablet, though, might be that it runs Sailfish OS, an operating system based on Linux and first developed by Jolla for use in its smartphones.
According to the two-year-old company, Sailfish was based on the heritage of MeeGo, an open-source operating system formerly developed by Nokia, among others.
Boasting 32 GB of memory, Jolla said its tablet has the space and hardware potential to be customized. It also comes with the option to expand with a micro-SD memory card that increases storage capacity to 32 GB.
The ongoing development of Jolla -- Finnish for small boat -- has led to a community of 150,000 fans or sailors, as the company calls them. The Sailfish OS made its first appearance on Jolla's smartphone, which came out about a year ago. The phone’s sales were modest, which is partly attributable to the fact that it was only available in limited quantities in Finland, Russia and parts of Europe.
First Batch Gone
Already, the first batch of Jolla’s tablets, priced at $189, have sold out. As of Wednesday, a small number of $199 tablets were still available and were due to ship in spring 2015.
When we reached Deron Kershaw, analyst for San Diego-based Gap Intelligence, he said that the price of the Jolla Tablet might not be enough to make the new product catch on.
"The tablet market is more cutthroat today than ever," Kershaw said. "Major brands are offering 8-inch Android tablets for under $149 and lesser-known brands like Insignia and Trio now have models priced as low as $79 at Best Buy."
Sailfish’s navigation is based mostly around swipes, and Jolla’s main selling point on the OS is its multitasking ability. Instead of forcing the user to switch between active apps, Sailfish OS can show several active apps on the screen at once.
Limited Android Access
Since it doesn’t run Android, the Jolla Tablet can't access the Google Play store. But it does work with a number of existing Android apps, which can be found via third-party app stores.
Just as funding for the development of the Jolla Tablet came from potential users, the company said it wants ongoing feedback from tablet buyers about what should be included in future updates of the Sailfish OS. But will that be enough to make it more than just a fringe product?
"It's hard enough for Microsoft and Amazon to make money in the tablet space and Jolla will simply not have the developer support or scale to make a meaningful dent in the market," said Kershaw. "I'm all for competition and loved WebOS, but with iOS, Android, Windows, Tizen, and others, I don't see a place for another option like Sailfish."