Jolla, a start-up Finnish smartphone maker, expanded into Africa through a deal to supply Namibian operator TN Mobile through third-party distributor LexConsult.
The company's smartphones will be available exclusively through TN Mobile retail outlets from Mar. 28, priced at NAD5,200 (€399/$433). A range of 'smart' covers that imbibe the smartphone with functions including preset colours and fonts are priced at NAD300 each.
The TN Mobile deal opens a new market for the company's Sailfish operating system, which Jolla is working to establish as a credible alternative to market leading platforms iOS and Android.
Sami Pienimäki, Jolla co-founder and CMO, said the company will offer Namibians "a unique smartphone user experience" with an operating system that includes compatibility for Android applications and focuses heavily on privacy. "Jolla does not sell user data," Pienimäki said.
The potential of Sailfish as a disruptor in the mobile OS space was what attracted TN Mobile to Jolla, said Armando Perny, mobile chief officer at the mobile operator's parent company Telecom Namibia. The device, along with "TN Mobile's 4G LTE network" enables the operator to "offer an unrivalled mobile experience to all Namibians."
Jolla is using its Namibian debut to seek potential Sailfish development partners in Africa for a programme announced early March that aims to speed development of the platform.
The Finnish company launched the Sailfish OS Alliance during the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, when it announced Snapdeal.com--India's largest e-commerce marketplace--as the first partner on the scheme.
During the event, Jolla chairman and co-founder Antti Saarnio told FierceWireless:Europe that a key point of differentiation between Sailfish and Android is that Jolla offers a dedicated space on its user interface for its partners to highlight their own services. Saarnio also said Google's platform is "contractually limited" compared to the "independent, open" Sailfish platform.
- see Jolla's announcement [PDF]
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