Jolla, the Finnish smartphone startup, is planning a 'pre-sale' campaign for its as yet unseen first device.
The company was founded in 2011 by a team of ex-Nokians who worked on Nokia's N9 and later got a helping hand from Nokia's Bridge program. It's finally preparing to unveil its first piece of hardware - a handset running its Sailfish operating system, which is based on Mer and MeeGo.
"Jolla will showcase its first device in May. The exact timing of the introduction will be announced later. A pre-sales campaign is expected to start after mid-May," a Jolla spokesperson said in a statement to ZDNet.
Exact details of the promotional campaign are still being hashed out, while actual sales of the first Jolla device will occur sometime in the second half of this year. Jolla had previously said it expects Sailfish OS to be available for partners to license from mid-2013.
One idea for the campaign that Jolla's chairman, Antti Saarnio, discussed with Finnish paper Taloussanomat was that customers could pre-order a phone with a customised UI. It's a move that would make sense for Jolla, which has consistently promoted the freedom to customising the UI as a draw for partners.
The arrival of the first Jolla device will fill a big gap in the company's story so far and will no doubt satisfy fans' persistent demands for something tangible. Still, the lack of any actual hardware hasn't stopped Jolla forming partnerships.
In the middle of last year, with a mere promise of a smartphone to come and a UI that Jolla wasn't prepared to show publicly, it locked in a distribution deal with Chinese retailer D.Phone. By October it had lined up a facility in Hong Kong where it would collaborate with OEMs, ODMs, retailers and carriers it that it hoped will license Sailfish for a collective move on the Chinese smartphone market. In November, it offered its first glimpse of the UI.
More recently, gearing up for the device launch, Jolla appointed a Finnish design team for the handset which had previously worked extensively on Nokia's E-Series line of enterprise devices.