Jolla plans spec upgrades for crowd-funded Tablet as contributions soar

Jolla, the Finnish mobile device manufacturer founded by former Nokia employees, is tripling its crowd-funding target for a new tablet PC after hitting its original goal of $380,000 (€305,167) two hours after beginning its campaign.

The device maker said crowd-sourced contributions towards the development of the Jolla Tablet have hit close to $1.3 million in the 12 days since it announced the funding plan on Nov. 19. Buoyed by the response, the company has expanded its goals for the device with plans to include HSDPA technology in units sold in Europe, and work to develop a split-screen user interface (UI).

Marc Dillon, Jolla's co-founder and COO, said HSDPA is "one of the most requested features by our community."

However, Jolla will only work on adding the mobile data technology when funding hits $2.5 million. Even then, the technology will be a $30 upgrade option for European owners of the tablet. In a statement, the company said it would explore extending the option to customers in other countries "later on."

Dillon said adding HSDPA connectivity has been a long-term goal for the company, and that it will seek "partnerships with cellular operators across the markets."

The company explains the split-screen UI was the most requested software feature by community members, and will be unlocked when funding hits $1.75 million. Prior to that, the company will add the capacity to use a 128GB MicroSDHC memory card in the tablet, when funding reaches $1.5 million.

"We are really excited to announce these new stretch goals, which we've carefully identified and discussed together with our community," Dillon explained, adding: "We asked what our backers want, and we hope we get to fulfil these promises."

Being capable of producing high-quality devices is, of course, fruitless without the means to actually sell those devices. Jolla said it has received hundreds of retailer requests from across the globe, and is now developing a new micro-distribution model that will enable entrepreneurs and small companies that contribute to the Jolla Tablet funding campaign to become distributors.

Those distributors will be offered a discount of around 30 per cent on the retail price of the tablet, which has yet to be confirmed.

The company is targeting initial shipments of the tablet PC in the second quarter of 2015. The crowd-funding campaign is being run in all EU countries, Norway, Switzerland, North America, Australia, India, China, Hong Kong, and Russia.

Jolla launched its first device, the Jolla Smartphone, in Europe and Norway in December 2013, and has since extended availability to markets including Russia and India. Both devices utilise the company's in-house Sailfish operating system, a development of the open source MeeGo platform originally developed by Nokia.

For more:
- see Jolla's crowd funding update
- view the original funding announcement [PDF]

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