Jolla’s first phone is nearly here, orange version teased in Beijing to prove it

Jolla Sailfish Phone TeaserIt’s a busy time for Jolla, one of the companies expected to make a splash with a new smartphone operating system this year. Last week it announced a few changes to its management team, and now, on stage at the GMIC conference in Beijing, new Head of Software Development Marc Dillon gave the assembled crowds a very brief look at the firm’s first phone.

Before you get too excited, the bright orange device that emerged from Dillon’s pocket was seen for just a few seconds, and even then it was only of the back of the phone. However, its appearance is significant because it indicates the official announcement isn’t far away, a point confirmed by Dillion who has been quoted as saying it was, “coming in a couple of weeks.”

Last month, Jolla’s chairman said in an interview the phone would make its debut in early May, ready to go live as a pre-order before the end of the month. Since then, Jolla has been quiet about a date for the launch event, and we were concerned the schedule had slipped.

One possible date has repeatedly appeared though, that of May 20. It has been spotted on an unofficial Jolla Facebook page, in several tweets (including one using it as a hashtag), and on a few Jolla-specific websites. Its source is something of a mystery, as it appears to be part from an article published by ZDNet, at least according to this Jolla Tides blog post, but the original now makes no mention of the date. Strange, but there’s not long to go until we find out if it’s correct.

There is some significance to Dillon showing the phone at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing too, as Jolla sees China as a significant market for Sailfish hardware. It’s certainly going to be one of the first places Jolla will sell its phone, along with its home country of Finland; but a launch in the rest of Europe and in the U.S. is still in question. With the phone in the wild and the days slowly passing by, if Jolla is going to show us the result of its hard work this month, an event announcement can’t be far away.

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