Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Jolla from different points of view

How do we see Jolla depends on where we stand looking at it. In this article you find points of view from Jolla's operator partner, Sailfish app developers, Jolla's The Other Half hardware developers and, most importantly, the potential customers. Each point of view includes some pros and cons. 

1st point of view: App developers

Marketing a modern phone via community, like Jolla has been doing so far, is very much app dependent and the apps play a big role in the user experience. In general, app developers are not too satisfied with Jolla's app policy so far - Jolla offers their users a way to install Android Apps, both free and paid, via their russian partner Yandex's app store which is rumoured to be preinstalled to the phone (Yandex press release 13.11.2013). Developers doesn't see much income for themselves after this. The income for developers comes from two sources: From users who pay for their apps, and from advertisement included into their apps. After what's heard so far, there could be a lack for both income channels. However, Jolla is working on this via their harbour, as can be read from here (Jolla press release 13.11.2013)

Pros and Cons

  • Sailfish OS uses similar methods as Android OS -> porting existing apps isn't too difficult
  • The idea of a functional Other Half and multitasking with active covers is offering something new to work with
  • Jolla seems to be ready for open discussion with their App developers
    • The documentation of Qt5, Sailfish OS and porting isn't done the best way
    • Jolla is feared not to offer paid Sailfish apps in their own app store
    • Jolla markets Android apps for customers, leaving less demand for new sailfish apps

2nd point of view: Hardware developers

Jolla has split their phone in two, offering ”The Jolla Half” with the 4.5" touch screen, Sailfish operating system and common connectivity ports extended with two nice ports capable to handle new harware. The Other Half can be connected to the phone via these ports, and the phone's functionality can be changed totally via different halfs. In general, hardware developers are very interested about this kind of consept. Manufacturing functional Other Halfs has a potential market for both new and existing Jolla's customers, but first, of cource, the manufacturers need to see some customers. 

Pros and Cons

  • Jolla's phone is equipped with NFC and I2C, giving developers multiple possibilities
  • The idea of a functional other half could have a strong potential new market
  • Jolla seems to be ready for open discussion with their hardware developers
    • No customers yet, a lot of phone's to be sold before first Other Halfs are available
    • Startup company with limited budget can't invest too much for hardware development
    • Proper documentation about hardware drivers is lacking, or is hard to find

3rd point of view: Customers

In general, customers are excited for a new company entering a big market. Most of them are looking forward to see and feel the phone in their own hands before decision to buy it or not. Some Linux lovers or finnish fans (Jolla is a company in Finland, and the original Linux was also built by a finn). Jolla's open source policy plays a role having these fans on their side, and the fans are hoping that Jolla's policy won't change in this matter.

Pros and Cons 

  • Jolla, as a finnish company, is lucky (or wise) introducing a new phone to the market when previous finnish giant Nokia sold it's mobile phone business to Microsoft.
  • The idea of a functional other half is bringing something new – maybe not when the phone is introduced, but surely later, when enough phones are sold.
  • The Other Half can potentially keep the phone up to date longer than what we are used to seen in mobile market. Customers doesn't need to change their whole phone – just a half might be enough.
    • The first customers are not totally satisfied with the informing policy of Jolla. A lot of questions about what they are about to get are still in the air, and Jolla is asking their first customers to pay the full price before answering all these questions
    • No Other Halfs yet – a lot of phone's to be sold before first Other Halfs are available
    • Jolla is a new, small company. Some customers wonder how will it unlike in the market ruled by pretty big shoes (Apple, Samsung, Google and future newcomers like Opera, Mozilla). Jolla will need some finnish strenght of will here

4th point of view: Operators and other marketing partners

In the day of introducing the phone Jolla has only one visible partnership in operators field, finnish operator DNA. Jolla is looking forward for partners in several countries, hoping them to market their new phone. Operators are generally open for new models fitting their ideology and brand. Most of them want to offer their customers a vary of choises, and Jolla as a brand is seen as a welcome newcomer. Partenrships with other marketers are agreed worlwide, one of the biggest beeing chinese D.Phone (partner of China Mobile, China Telecom and ChinaUnicom).

Pros and Cons

  • New phone might bring in new customers
  • By the experience from DNA, according to them, Jolla seem's like a nice partner for an operator (DNA press release 22.11.2013)
  • Jolla is equipped with LTE network (called also 4G in some countries), and operators who have builded it up are willing to sell phones using it. Among other LTE capable phones, Jolla's price tag seems reasonable
    • Partners not totally satisfied with Jolla's informing policy. Until the day of introducing the phone (27.11.2013) Jolla has given more speculation than absolute facts about what and when the shops are about to sell
    • No Other Halfs yet – for an operator it would be nice to offer Jolla phones to their customers with its full potential in use, but a lot of phone's are to be sold before first Other Half's are available.
    • Jolla is a new, small company. Some operators want to see some more development before they make decision about partnership

5th point of view: My personal opinions

I can see Jolla as a welcome new company with a lot of potential. The market they are entering seems quite full and ruled at first glance, but looking a bit furher we can see a huge and still growing market with plenty of room, especially in big countries like India and China.

To enter this market it requires a phone with something new. Unfortunately today, when the first phones are sold and the phone is widely introduced to the world, Jolla's first phone has only a new, gesture based operating system. Well, there is a big promise of something new along – in a form they call ”The Other Half”. In my opinion, they should have introduced a variety of different, functional Other Halfs in this first day, as this day has an essential value when hitting this big market.

Marketing in general has been quiet, propably for financial reasons. It might also be a chosen policy that all the marketing is left to Jolla's partners – focusing Jolla's own resources and knowhow to develop a phone as good as possible.

In the end all this closes to simple questions:
Do I need a new phone? Is it Jolla? For me: Propably yes (two times).

Another, new and unlike point of view from Jolla's CEO Pienimäki

Great news for Open Source fans: "According to Pienimäki, Jolla is also planning to let individual users to download Sailfish operating system into their Android-devices." (Read the whole interview from source Taloussanomat, a finnish business magazine. The interview was published 2013-11-27 at 18:30.

UPDATE 2013-11-27 18:30
- Jolla has just revealed a user guide for the phone.

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