Jolla’s first batch of Sailfish smartphones 'fully booked'

Pre-orders for the smartphone by ex-Nokian startup Jolla has been fully booked four months after launch.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

Jolla, the Finnish startup born out of Nokia's abandoned MeeGo experiment, has closed its first round of orders before the device goes on general release and is now considering launching a follow-up campaign.

Jolla launched its 'Other Half' pre-sale campaign in May, hoping to gauge demand for its Sailfish OS smartphone and lock-in a commitment from buyers ahead of the launch of its first device.

Earlier this year, consumers in the European Union as well as Norway and Switzerland were offered a deal where they could make a €100 downpayment that gave them a €100 voucher off the overall €399 (£337) price of the device and "priority pre-order status". They also got to choose an 'Other Half' backplate which can be used to customise the UI

Jolla isn't sharing the exact number of devices that were pre-booked due to "customer confidentiality", but a spokesperson for the startup said that the typical size of a production batch for a mobile device vendor is 50,000 units.

Whatever the size, according to Jolla, both consumers and "selected sales channels" have bought out the first batch, which it still expects to deliver by the end of the year. In all, it claims to have received pre-orders from 136 countries. (That's up from June when Jolla CEO Tomi Pienimäki told ZDNet it had orders from 118 countries).

But that figure shouldn't be read to mean consumers from all these countries have made a pre-order: the €100 downpayment option was only open to consumers in the EU, Norway and Switzerland. The option open to anyone outside those countries was booking a device without a downpayment, a Jolla spokesperson told ZDNet.

Although they're not official pre-orders, it's not hard to imagine these bookings helping Jolla decide which markets outside of Europe to expand the downpayment offer to.

Then there's Jolla's ongoing bid to attract more carrier support. Jolla's spokesperson would not expand on what it meant by "selected sales channels". So far, the only carrier that has committed to selling the Jolla smartphone once it's available is Finland's third largest operator, DNA, which will be the first to sell the device.

However, the spokesperson said it was in negotiations with "several other operators in various countries". Like its first batch numbers, it's not sharing details here due to customer confidentiality, but wider early support of the type that Mozilla has gained for Firefox OS would probably helps its chances of success.  

Jolla has, throughout its short life, has highlighted its potential in China. However, it has also said that if a Sailfish OS device does reach that market, it wouldn't necessarily be a Jolla device, thanks to the ecosystem it has worked on establishing in the region, hoping to license the OS there.

It has also been promoting its potential for retailers and carriers through the Sailfish Alliance with one possibility being Chinese retailer D.Phone, an early supporter of Jolla, although there's been little news on this front. 

Fans that missed out on this batch of pre-orders might get another chance, according to Pienimäki. 

"For those, who missed the first opportunity, we are now doing our best to offer a second chance, a new batch of Jolla smartphones later in the autumn," he said in a statement. "I encourage everyone interested in Jolla to sign up at jolla.com and be the first to know about any new developments, such as the opening of the next pre-sales campaign."

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