Jolla Faces ‘Fight For Survival’, Future Of Tablet Uncertain

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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Jolla files for ‘debt restructuring’ after investor withdraws, says it is confident about delivering tablet and future of Sailfish

Finnish smartphone manufacturer Jolla has admitted it faces a fight for survival after one of its investors withdrew from a €10 million funding round, leaving the future of its tablet also in jeopardy.

The company, which includes a number of Nokia alumni among its staff, is “temporarily” laying off some employees and has applied for debt restructuring which is the Finnish form of bankruptcy protection.

“Jolla is now fighting for its survival,” said Antti Saarnio, co-founder and chairman of Jolla. “The key thing in this fight is that we succeed in our December financing round. If we do so, also the Tablet project can be resolved.”

Jolla Sailfish OS

jolla tabletFormed 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.

The company says it is committed to raising the funding necessary to continue with its efforts and will “compensate” for missing deliveries. The tablet was part-funding through a campaign on crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and it is unclear what will happen to backers’ money if Jolla is unable to deliver the units. TechWeekEurope has contacted Jolla for clarification.

“Although the tablet project has not been a profitable project for Jolla, it has been a key project to take Sailfish OS forward to a new level,” continued Saarnio. “Also I would like to highlight that the tablet project is not the reason for Jolla’s current financial challenges, but the delay of company’s overall external financing.”

Despite its current financial difficulties, Jolla says it is committed to the development of Jolla devices and Sailfish OS, which was opened up to other manufacturers earlier this year.

“The alternative OS is a really big and challenging agenda. But I still believe it is moving ahead, yet very slowly. The primary challenge for us is that our agenda might be somewhat forward leaning, and we need to wait until the world catches up with this vision that other OSs are heavily needed to create an alternative for Android.”

“The interest for our agenda is just now emerging. I firmly believe that companies and consumers will soon realise that the world really needs options in mobile OSs. We’ve already had many interesting discussions with potential new partners about using Sailfish OS in their own projects. I’m looking forward to announcing the results of these talks soon.”

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Jolla Tablet

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