Jolla Secures Sailfish OS Future With New Investment

The future of the Sailfish OS mobile operating system has been secured for the time being after developer Jolla secured more financing – a month after a key investor withdrew from a €10 million funding round.

Formed in 2011, Jolla has been developing Sailfish OS as an alternative to Android and iOS. It launched its first, and so far only, smartphone in 2013 and announced its tablet last year.However the project has experienced a number of delays, mainly caused by display issues and component delivery.

Jolla admitted it faced a fight for survival last month but says the additional stability afforded by the investment means it can continue developing Sailfish, secure more licensing deals and deliver the delayed Jolla tablet.

The company told TechWeekEurope that ‘temporary layoffs’ announced in November would no longer take place, but that many staff had already resigned. A Jolla spokesperson added that it hopes to continue with around half the previous workforce.

Jolla Sailfish OS future

”So far Jolla as a start-up has been solely carrying the high investment cost of the Sailfish operating system,” said chairman Antii Saarnio. “It has been very challenging to finance this operation. We are now moving into a model where our partners in the BRICS countries, especially in Russia, India and China, will invest in the R&D of local market operations, while Jolla will focus more on the development of the core of Sailfish OS, producing Sailfish software releases, and supporting its licensees & app developers.”

Development of the tablet has been part-funded by a crowdfunding campaign, leading many backers to voice their frustration at the delays and concern that they might not receive their device if Jolla went out of business.

Saarnio said Jolla is working on a way to deliver the Jolla tablet as soon as possible and rejected arguments it had spent too much on tailoring Sailfish OS for tablets rather than working on hardware.

“We receive daily more and more questions about the status of the Jolla Tablet and many people are seemingly frustrated – rightfully so,” he continued. “After I showed the cost breakdown for the Jolla Tablet project in my previous blog post, many have asked that why did we spend a big part of the tablet crowdfunding money on software development and not the tablet itself. To me this question as such does not make sense, since Sailfish OS is our product, our crown jewel, which we aim to make perfect for all of you – the tablet hardware is only a platform for the software.

“As you all know, we were already late with this project when the financing struggle hit us, and unfortunately this unexpected delay in financing will clearly have an effect on the project. Now that the immediate financing challenge is resolved we will put our attention to the tablet project and develop a plan for dealing with it.

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Jolla Tablet

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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