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From 2014 to 2015 – looking back and forward

Happy New Year Jolla Blog readers! 

Moving on to the year 2015 is a good time to look at what we’ve achieved together so far and to give an outlooks on what’s coming later this year. Year 2014 was the first full year for Jolla to be out on the market with its own independent operating system, Sailfish OS; first with the Jolla smartphone and closer to the year-end with the Jolla Tablet. For us year 2014 included many awesome highlights and, of course, challenges.

A month ago at a party in Japan, I met the owner and the CEO of a large Asian company. When he heard we were from Jolla, he got super excited! He said: “Jolla… I have been using your company as an example to my people. I’ve said to them, I don’t know who these guys are, but I know that they are going to win. You know why? Because they’ve got passion!”

Passion, courage and great talent have carried the Jolla boat through the stormy weathers and tidal waves. And that was something that the mobile industry experts did not expect to happen. When we started the business, they said “you’ll not be able to make it. A start-up can’t make an OS and a smartphone. You’ll not get enough market visibility, you’ll not get enough financing, and you’ll not get big partners to support you”.

But guess what. Here we are, against all odds. We delivered the Jolla smartphone to the market, developed a world class OS, which is improving release by release, we’ve raised over 30M€ financing, we’ve had over 7000 articles written about us, and we’ve managed to sign contracts with major operator and distribution channels around the world. A lot of industry attention is now on Jolla.

Never underestimate the power of passion, courage and talent. With these ingredients nothing is impossible! Trust yourself, trust the people you are working with and never give up.

A year full of launches & events

Year 2014 was a pilot year for Jolla and a very demanding one. In addition to the smartphone and OS development, we had to build all company processes from scratch: sales and marketing, online shop, logistics, customer care, software release process, testing, communications, legal, HR. This is only possible if you have highly talented, passionate people and courage to start an impossible mission, not to forget the importance of the Jolla community’s support.

After the successful first market launch in Finland with our local partner DNA back in late November 2013 we did several great market launches with our partners, attended many many events, and did hundreds of interviews with media around the globe. During the year we opened up local sales with partners in Estonia, Kazakhstan, Italy, Hong Kong, India, and Russia. As a result of all our sales launches, and partnerships the Jolla smartphone is currently on sale in 250 retails locations and 10 different online stores in 34 countries all around the world.

In the first quarter of the year a big part of our efforts on the business side of things were allocated to the world largest mobile industry event Mobile World Congress. Besides the 7,000+ visitors to our Jolla event stand, we had a full meeting agenda with OEMs, operators, distributors, and journalists. Now we’re looking forward to MWC 2015 in just a few weeks!

After loads of planning work in the summer and the autumn, we launched the plans for our next product, the Jolla Tablet, in November. The project was kicked off with an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign  on November 19 at Slush 2014.

Ten software updates, growing boat of sailors

Jolla’s aim from the beginning has been to provide regular software updates to Sailfish OS. During 2014 we put out 10 software updates, and three hot fixes to the software. Altogether these included some 350 features, and close to 13 500 individual bugs were fixed. We’re very pleased with where we are now with Sailfish OS, but things did not always go as smoothly as we expected. For example, we underestimated the work needed to successfully complete the Qt5.2 transition, which delayed the release cycle at the latter part of the year.

During 2014 the number of sailors (which we call our Jolla crew members) grew from less than 100 to 128, including team members in Helsinki (our HQ), Tampere, Hong Kong, as well as several individuals around the world. Currently the Jolla staff consists of about 25 different nationalities, with an average age of 33.5. As in most engineering companies, the gender split leans more towards male, but not as heavily as typically: 22% of the Jolla staff is female.

During 2014 we managed also to attract a good amount of investment to our company with two separate investment rounds. Until today Jolla has gathered 34 million euros of investment mostly from angel investors.

Growing community

The international Jolla community kept growing during 2014, helping us to build the Jolla story. During the year our social media fan base grew significantly: our Facebook followers grew from 39 976 in Jan 1st to 107,728 in Dec 31st. On Twitter our follower base grew by close to 8,000 during the year. Our community platform Together.Jolla.com received 442 744 visits during the year.

During the year our webpage jolla.com received 5.2 million visits from all over the world. Most frequent visitors where from the European countries (Finland and Germany) and from Asia. Lots of visitors came from the US, even though the Jolla phone hasn’t shipped there yet. We even got one visit from Wallis & Futuna!

Jolla Launcher transformed into Stella Launcher

Back in Mobile World Congress 2014 we announced that we will soon offer the Sailfish OS experience as downloadable software to devices running Android OS. In the spring we put out the first Alpha version of the Jolla Launcher, and asked our community to start testing it. To our positive surprise over 13,000 people informed us that they’re interested in trying it out on their Android devices. With a part of this group we continued the testing process and learned a lot.

Later in the year we partnered with Rovio to produce a Jolla Launcher version with Angry Birds Stella branding. The ‘Angry Birds Stella Launcher by Jolla‘ was first released in Chinese app stores Taobao and UC, and in Slush 2014 we made the launcher also available though Google Play Store and Amazon.

Looking forward to 2015 and beyond

Year 2015 will be a great year! We will show to the world that this new kid on the block needs to be taken seriously. One mobile industry analyst recently wrote that only Android and iOS really exist, all others are dead and only stubborn Jolla is making “Jedi moves”. I disagree, although I very much appreciate the statement about Jedi moves. In my opinion disruption is behind the corner, it’s just difficult to see behind that corner. Let me explain why I believe so.

Privacy is becoming mainstream

Firstly, think a while on how important mobile is becoming to all of us. And how fast this change is happening. Smartphones are becoming our banks, credit cards, keys, and almost all our data will be stored in the devices. Mobile is also expanding to smart homes, education, healthcare and more and more sensitive data will be collected to mobile devices. Last August there was an earthquake in Napa, California. After the earthquake, the media released big data about how people woke up during the earthquake. Useful information for sure, but also a bit disturbing if you think how much more data has been collected and how this data could be used also in a wrong way, breaching privacy. People bought these devices to study their own behavior. I am sure that very few thought this information would be public.

Secondly, have a look at the business models of the dominant operating systems: advertising and consumer data collection. Because of this we are losing our privacy. Because of this, smartphones have become human data collection devices and consumers’ life data has been turned into products. And what’s the deal: the mobile OS gets on average 10USD per user in advertising revenue. That is a very small amount of money for an individual’s privacy. I am sure many mobile users would pay many times more to keep their privacy.

Actually the whole concept of a private person is losing its meaning as everyone’s information is public. We are already living in a world where a minister can’t call to a minister colleague in the neighboring country, a business man should not talk business matters on the phone, and a private person is at risk of being the target of mass internet blackmailing. PRIVACY matters in mobile and it is becoming mainstream.

At Jolla, we respect privacy as a core human right, and we build our operating system and devices respecting privacy. We also want to invite other industry players, device manufacturers, application developers, and security and cloud service providers to join the privacy movement.

Mobile commerce is becoming a main driver for the mobile industry

Mobile industry is one of the most dynamic industries I know. Every 5-6 years something changes in the dynamics and totally disrupts the industry. Nokia was leading in the time when the hardware ecosystem was the key in the competition. Then came Apple and Android and created an application based mobile ecosystem. Suddenly hardware became a commodity and the application ecosystem was the key driver for success.

The new mobile commerce era is already here. In many markets 50% of e-commerce is carried out with mobile devices and it is predicted that over 2/3 of the mobile device revenue will come from e-commerce purchases in the near future. Suddenly applications and advertising are not important any more, as the mobile is becoming an entertainment center, shopping center, wallet and a bank. This tremendous change will again disrupt the industry and will bring forward new leaders.

Jolla has all the time been developing its Sailfish OS platform acknowledging the rise of mobile commerce and we believe we are now well positioned to serve the needs of the leading e-commerce companies globally.

Privacy and mobile commerce will be the wind in Jolla’s sails and they support each other. With mobile commerce revenue, there is no need to make money with consumer data, which is becoming an old-fashioned business model. In this new era of mobile internet, you can ask directly from the consumer what he or she wants. No need for data gathering anymore.

Jolla’s focus areas in 2015

This year Jolla will continue to improve the Sailfish OS multitasking user experience, establish a Sailfish OS developer program to support native app development, bring new devices to the market with world-class hardware, and establish major partnerships within the industry.

The Sailfish OS is still young, and needs more stability, better connectivity, and simplification to the user experience. The small Sailfish OS native app ecosystem needs its own program, which guides and supports app developers. The amount of applications is not important, rather the most important applications for people need to be native, and of high quality. Friends, Tweetian, Sailgrande, just to mention a few, are excellent proof points of the potential of native Sailfish OS applications.  The stability and usability of Android applications in Sailfish OS is already on a good level, and we continue to improve this.

Our first tablet product will come to the market during Q2/2015, with an excellent Intel chipset, great screen, and new versions of the Sailfish UI. The multitasking experience of the Jolla tablet will be the best in the market. That’s a promise. And, of course, we would not be a device and software company if we did not have new devices on our roadmap. Stay tuned for news about this.

Our long-term target is to develop secure and privacy enforced smart device solutions with a great multitasking user experience. These solutions serve the true needs of consumers in their digital life, whether it is gaming, movies, music or shopping. This is obviously a big task for a small company. And that’s why it is essential for us to partner with major e-commerce players, digital content providers, chipset vendors, operators, and companies specialized in security and privacy.

Finally: a huge thank you to all Jolla sailors, fans, community, industry partners and investors for a great year 2014 and may the winds be excellent for us all during 2015!

antti_round

Antti Saarnio

Co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Jolla. Fearless entrepreneur and business adventurer.

20 Comments

  1. Hi – Great to hear the update. Seems a very promising 2015 indeed. I am a Jolla user from India and carry the device with lot of passion. I take every opportunity to showcase it to my friends and family write and write about it in LUG’s and other social circles. As you say, it is unimaginable to establisg the entire ecosystem – from development to support. Fantastic job, hoping to see lot more from Jolla. You have raised the bar.

    P.S. Having accessories in India (via Snapdeal) would be much welcome.

  2. As an American, the comments on privacy are totally on point. Unfortunately, I cannot have a Jolla phone here yet but I’m holding hope I will be able to soon – or at least port Sailfish to my Moto X – and I can’t wait for the arrival of my new Jolla Tablet.

    I can’t help but believe there is a market non-android phone with top-notch privacy and security built-in, here in the USA.

    • Hi oshunluvr, come joins us at #sailfishos-porters IRC on Freenode to have a chat about your Moto X :)

  3. Hi! I am a Jolla Smartphone user from the Basque Country, and hopefully a Jolla Tablet user in May 2015! So excited! Thanks for all your passion and work, guys!
    I would like to know how many enthusiastic Jolla Smartphone users are we. How many Smartphone did you sell up to now?

    • Hi dorrontxiki! Thanks for your feedback, happy to hear that! Unfortunately we can’t answer your question in details, since we are not disclosing total sales numbers in public. This is because we have several sales partners around the world, and we’ve agreed not to give this information out on their behalf. Looking forward to deliver a great tablet for you!

      • Let’s hope that some day you’ll have sale numbers you can brag about.

  4. Passion it is! Keep it up Sailors!

  5. Sailfish User from the US (Nexus 5 and soon Jolla Tablet)

    You guys are doing amazing work. I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store. The passion you guys have is contagious!

  6. Hmm, focusing on mobile e-commerce sounds cool, yet.. how could Jolla possibly focus on that? :/

    We are not talking about just adding in-app purchases (even if advanced ones), are we? Then even if Jolla succeeds well, will the amount of users be anywhere close to noticeable by the mobile commerce market players?

    Or are we talking about some non-Jolla phone use e.g. making some commerce related services for Android just as Stella launcher or maybe using Sailfish OS in some stand-alone buying kiosks?

    I am quite confused about it. What do you think Jolla’s focus on e-commerce could be about?

    • Hi artem.marchenko. Thanks for your comment! You are right. With Jolla smartphone, the volumes will not be significant. However, Jolla aims to license Sailfish OS to other vendors, and we believe that significant volume can be achieved this way. Especially when m-commerce disrupts the current business models of the industry.

      • OK, so this is more of a message for potential Sailfish licensees.

        Still, even if, say, HTC buys Jolla and even let’s imagine for a second decides to make Sailfish its main phone platform.. How would it help e-commerce? :/

        • Good question. Why not to try ;->

          Android’s > 80% market share means that one company’s strategy and objectives are dominating the possibilities for mobile e-commerce development.

          Offering an alternative is a tough business. Having a strategy of inclusion rather than exclusion we believe is a big part of it. It is more than just a single OEM joining, it is about bringing together Operators, OEM’s, other service and content providers to a level playing field and an ability to try something new.

          To become a disruptor takes many things, I believe we have many already and a great place to grow the rest.

          <3
          Marc

          • So you are saying basically that, hey, let’s be disruptive, different bring operators and OEMs on board and grow! I totally buy this goal (how easy it is to achieve one is a different story).

            What I fail to understand is how e-commerce can be a priority then. Could you bring an example?

            Imagine I am a sailor (or an enthusiastic 3rd party developer ) and I hear Jolla’s leadership proclaiming privacy and e-commerce as the main 2015 targets. I can understand at least some potential ways (possibly some of them being stupid ) for improving privacy: encrypt stuff, ask for permissions in a clear way at the very proper moments, clear private stuff our unless absolutely needed, etc.

            How do I act on e-commerce? And for who? Apps for the likes of amazon-ebay?… even if Jolla is mega-successful and gets MSFT-like market share.. MSFT is only able to get commerce apps by throwing piles money at the developers. Supporting operators-relevant commerce models that don’t need much 3rd party dev (i.e. content such as ringtones and wallpapers)? – maybe that might work.

            Anyways, it would be good to hear a couple of examples (even stupid ones) of what focus on e-commerce could mean in terms of something shippable.

            • Thanks Antti for the great blog and thanks for instigating even better debate. Here’s my two-cents for it.
              What if banks and credit card companies, online shops and public service providers, figure out, that privacy for their customers is more important to them than anything else. What if they’d rather serve their customers with their own customised mobile gadget, with proven track-record on privacy, than use the existing mobile phone makers with evident problems with keepings things spilling out?
              Customers trust their banks and shops, even online. Trust is the key, concluded Jack Ma @Davos this year. And therefore, nothing is more important to the online industry, than customers faith in their service privately.
              Consequently, WHAT IF future competition between different operating systems in the future is going to be about winning customers faith between different marketplaces? Faith in accountability, faith in efficiency and most of all faith in privacy.
              To put it in layman terms, if your mobile phone is going to be your next credit card, which existing mobile OS would you put your faith in? This is the age old question that not only e-commerce, but banks, credit card companies, social media providers, car manufacturers and whole lot of other industries are already thinking about.

  7. Upcoming Sailor from Germany reporting, I’m waiting for the Tablet wich I supported on indiegogo.com. The more and more I read and see on Youtube of Jolla, I get more thrilled about it and I’m considering buying a Jolla Phone, if the Tablet convinces me of Sailfish OS.

    So let’s see what 2015 got for us… Maybe a new Phone, wich is going to kick ass with a good Price/Perfomance.

  8. Dear Sir,

    You’re right, you’re right AND you’re right (again!).

    Bring it on!

  9. Hi, currently i have owned a jolla-phone (well known as J1). And soon comes the tablet too. i find the hardware quality on the top. and the concept of the usability of the phone really nice.
    Just for curiosity from me, about financing.

    Currently, finance comes from investors, maybe on pourcentage from current device, accesories, and otherhalfs.I have seen that jolla plans to license the sailfish os to other phone producer. Are there some activities from jolla, which brings a part to the finance? Like support? business software solution for firms?

    For the future, want jolla just active on sailfish os licensing? or want furthermore to present Software solutions on business branch?

    good continuation.

  10. Ahoy. I am from India and have purchased Jolla Mobile phone from Snapdeal.com. I tried to download and install a few apps like file explorer to do but I am getting error message. I have viewed the youtube tutorial on how to but am clueless. Can any user guide me Thanks.

    • Pauliina Alanen | Jolla

      Hi yogeshm! Sorry to hear that. Have you already been in touch with Snapdeal.com customer service? You can also send a message to our Service and Support team at: https://jolla.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/new, they’ll be happy to help you!

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