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Jolla enters tablet market with instant crowdfunded hit

Last year, the company released its first handset. This year, it's thinking bigger.

Jolla tablet
The Jolla Tablet. Image: Jolla

A day after Nokia announced the N1 , another Finnish hardware company has tablet news to share. Today at the Slush 2014 startup conference in Helsinki, Jolla launched a crowdfunding campaign for its first tablet, set for release in May next year.

The announcement of the Jolla Tablet comes a year after Jolla, founded in 2011 by a group of ex-Nokians, released its first smartphone . The tablet will run on an upgraded 2.0 version of the company’s own open source-based Sailfish OS .

In his keynote speech at Slush, Jolla COO Mark Dillon highlighted security, privacy, and multitasking as key for the latest iteration of the OS. Sailfish OS shows all running apps in a single view while the apps can be controlled through the multitasking view without opening the app in full. It also offers 'ambiances', a feature which enables personalising the home screen to match different uses and moods.

From a hardware perspective, the Jolla Tablet can stand toe-to-toe with products from much larger rivals. It has a 7.85-inch, 2048 x 1536 (330ppi) display which matches the resolution of the iPad mini 3. It has 32GB of internal storage which can be expanded via microSD, a 4300 mAh battery, and is driven by a 64-bit Intel 1.8GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM.

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At 203 x 137 x 8.3 mm and 384 grams, the Jolla Tablet is not quite as compact at the iPad mini 3, but it does match it with a five-megapixel rear camera and larger two-megapixel front-facing camera. It also offers wi-fi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.

While Nokia has moved away from manufacturing devices in favour of licensing its hardware, Jolla has launched an Indiegogo campaign to bring the tablet to market by next May. The campaign has had a flying start: Jolla passed its $380,000 funding goal within two hours.

Part of the reason for the instant response appears to be pricing. Jolla has announced the first 1,000 backers will get the Tablet for just $189, and the second thousand for $199. The final retail price remains highly competitive at $249, significantly undercutting the iPad mini 3 and in line with the new Nokia N1. The Tablet will get a wide launch with availability in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, US, Russia, India, and Hong Kong.

The crowdfunding campaign fits the Tablet’s tagline: 'people powered'. Jolla has created a community website for users to suggest features for Sailfish 2.0 and the most highly rated features will be seen in the upgraded software.

Jolla's Dillon revealed at Slush that since the early 2013 launch of Sailfish OS (which can run Android apps), updates have appeared almost monthly. Judging by the Jolla Tablet's hit Indiegogo campaign, this is a schedule the company will be expected to maintain long into the future.

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