Directly compared to the unveiling of the Nokia N9, Jolla’s hardware appears to be quite disappointing, but given the limitations of the size and time that Jolla had, the overall package is quite impressive.
Jolla’s product at this phase still looks bulky, however I have strong faith that its final form will be thinner than the current and also sleeker in terms of less edge space from the display.
Jolla has chosen China as the main market to sell the majority of their devices. The fans and community in Europe and rest of the world can be the source of inspiration and motivation for Jolla, but not sufficient to make them be competitive.
Apart from the top brands that sell their phones at a similar price in China and the rest of the world, there are a swarm of Android manufacturers. The problem is that most of these phones become quite bland as their UI is just a different set of icons for Android. This is where the opportunity for the gorgeous Sailfish UI comes in.
During the unveiling of the Sailfish UI in Slush 2012, I was lucky and honored to talk to their lead designer. You might be wondering why there is not a horizontal swipe in the UI yet. He mentioned that there would be a dedicated view/screen for operators or other manufacturers to customize a unique experience upon a horizontal swipe.
This first device is a clear mistake from Jolla. The market in China is extremely competitive as compared to the recognized brands, the offered hardware specs are way better in terms of bang for the buck. This has shifted the mindset of these manufacturers to market their HW more like PCs are marketed with the CPU, ram, display etc.
Jolla’s device is simply not competitive. For example, Jiayu 3GS has almost identical specs as the Jolla with a 4.5 720p screen and 8 MP camera, but starts at 829 Yuan. Oppo that has recently climbed that ladder and is more well received has their flagship device that has arguably the same level specs as the Galaxy S4, HTC One and Xperia Z at 399 euros available right now. The price for Jolla preorder at the moment is also 399 and it is due at the end of the year.
Even if the latest Android applications run smoothly on the Sailfish platform, Jolla is taking a risk by asking the customers whether they want a better software experience or better hardware.
However, we must not forget the big players. Google is taking a stance where they are trying to be more like Apple. With the old Motorola phones out of the pipeline soon, the next set of devices will most likely be a range of devices similar to what Nokia has done with the Lumia range and glass. Samsung who is eating 95% of Android profits is also developing a plan B with Tizen.
I believe players like LG and these Chinese Android manufacturers should be looking for an alternative and Sailfish is by far the best solution compared to the upcoming Ubuntu phone and Firefox OS.