A man, a plan … pandemonium.
Started by a group of former developers from Nokia’s mobile division, Jolla looked forward to releasing its self-titled tablet to 21,000 backers following two succesful Indiegogo campaigns that raised about $4 million bucks.
The tablet promised to be hot. Designed in Finland, the Jolla Tablet was to be a minimalist, sleek affair, without intrusive buttons on the front panel, and curved ends giving it a shape you just want to hold. It would run the same, “people-powered” Sailfish OS as the company’s phone, retaining its gesture control system, and would run both Sailfish apps and Android apps.
Unfortunately, Jolla experienced bumps on the road that led to it flat-out cancel its tablet plans, according to a company blog post.
What went wrong? For one thing, the company faced financial trouble to the point that it saw no choice but filing for debt restructuring last November. This meant that half of its workforce, roughly 100 workers, were handed pink slips by the end of 2015.
In addition, the debt restructuring meant that Jolla could not pay its subcontractors, an issue that led to further delays of the Sailfish OS-powered tablet. Eventually, Jolla did get money through a round of financing, but by the time it did, it had to be used towards making sure the company remained afloat.
However, issues also arose from Jolla’s Indiegogo campaigns. Even though both campaigns were successfully funded, Jolla experienced display and component delivery issues, forcing the company to revise its shipping schedule. Things seemed alright when Jolla shipped 121 of its Sailfish-powered tablets to eager Indiegogo backers in October 2015.
Unfortunately, Jolla also experienced issues with its supplier, which had to switch factories two times for production of the tablet.
Moving forward, Jolla announced it would be able to ship only another 540 tablets, based on when backers contributed money to the project. That means that if you were one of the early contributors, you should be able to get your hands on a device.
As for everyone else, Jolla will refund those who pre-ordered the tablet and those who are not on the list to receive the device. However, due to Jolla’s financial situation, the first half of refunds will be issued during Q1 2016, while the second half will be issued within a year. Keep in mind that Jolla’s ability to issue refunds depends on its financial situation, so if the company does fold, you probably shouldn’t expect a refund.
It’s a shame, too — the Jolla Tablet showed plenty of promise with its two successful Indiegogo campaigns. If everything went according to plan, the tablet would have been in contributors’ hands by June 2015 at the latest.
We reached out to Jolla for a comment and will update the article if we hear back. Regardless, Jolla’s announcement goes to show that crowdfunding is a gamble that comes with risks. Sometimes the dice tumble in your favor.
But sometimes, you shoot craps.