Finnish mobile company Jolla has announced a new smartphone called the Jolla C, but you probably won’t be able to get one. The phone is part of a new program to inspire the community built around its Sailfish mobile operating system, and is only available to those who signed up to get involved. Unfortunately, the program sold out on launch day, taking all 1,000 examples of the limited edition phone with it.
The Jolla C looks very similar to the original Jolla smartphone, an innovative device released back in 2013, but with a few key differences. It has a larger 5-inch screen this time around, but the resolution stays at 1280 x 720 pixels, and the camera also sticks with 8-megapixels. A Snapdragon 212 processor with 2GB of RAM powers the phone, and there’s 32GB of internal memory to fill up, plus a MicroSD card slot. Sadly the feature-adding, modular-style Other Half rear panel isn’t part of the phone’s design.
Sailfish OS 2.0 is installed, a gesture-based alternative to Android that has the ability to run Android apps, and Jolla promises new versions of the software will be sent to the Jolla C first. Think of the Jolla C as the company’s Nexus 5X, and you’ll have got the point. It’s mainly for active developers and dedicated fans of the Sailfish platform.
That’s certainly the idea behind Jolla’s Sailfish Community Device Program, through which the Jolla C is obtained. Members get access to developer sessions, support material, and community-driven events. Jolla charged 170 euros for membership, including the Jolla C phone, which works out to around $190.
The sold-out program was hailed as a success by Sami Pienmaki, Jolla’s co-founder, who said in an email it was a “strong message of the willingness to change the world together.” However, Jolla’s not been changing much for the better recently. The hardware division entered a debt restructuring program and laid off staff at the end of 2015, then canceled its crowd-funded tablet plan a few weeks later, leaving concerns over the company’s future, and a lot of disappointed backers.
Hope for Jolla rests on its software division and Sailfish OS. Billed as a more secure alternative to Android, Jolla took $12 million in investment during May, after the OS was adopted by TRI’s delayed Turing Phone, and before a handful of other agreements with international device manufacturers had been signed.
Jolla says it’s exploring the possibility of opening up the sold out community program again.