Jolla's Sailfish stays afloat with new Jolla C phone, 'community device' developer program

Jolla introduced a new handset and announced a new "community device program" in an effort to boost developer support for its Sailfish OS. But whether the Finnish company can actually gain a foothold in the mobile world is still far from clear.

The Jolla C, which is the company's second smartphone, is targeted specifically at developers and hardcore Sailfish fans. It sold out in a single day, but those looking for an underdog to take on Apple and Google should curb their enthusiasm: Jolla is manufacturing only 1,000 of them and priced them at $188.

The phones will be available only in Europe and are scheduled to ship in July. It features a 5-inch, 720p screen and an 8-megapixel camera, and is powered by Qualcomm's 1.3 GHz Snapdragon 212 quad-core processor.

More important, though, is Jolla's move to rally its developer community as it launches Sailfish 2.0. "An active developer and fan community has always been a core part of Sailfish OS, and we want to thank all our fans for their passion and support throughout the years," Jolla co-founder Sami Pienimaki wrote in a company blog post. "As the Sailfish OS licensing is expanding, the role of an active community gets even bigger. We are now investigating if we can extend the program beyond this."

Sailfish, which has garnered some positive reviews, is a Linux-based platform that grew out of the MeeGo OS that Nokia abandoned a few years ago when it threw its weight behind Microsoft's Windows Phone. Jolla was founded by a group of former Nokia engineers.

But like Microsoft, Firefox, BlackBerry and others, Jolla has struggled mightily to gain traction in a world dominated by Apple's iOS and Google's Android. Financial woes forced the company to scrap the Jolla Tablet, filling "a small number" of orders and refunding the remaining contributions to its crowd-sourced development effort.

Instead, the company is honing its focus on developing and licensing Sailfish as it works to secure more financing. Jolla said in March that it had raised $12 million in a recent funding round to purse that business.

Whether there's any real demand for a third mobile operating system is unclear, though, particularly when major markets such as the U.S., Western Europe and even China near saturation. Jolla will need broader developer support, carrier allies and much more funding if it is to gain any kind of foothold in a market dominated by two massive operating systems.

For more:
- read this Jolla blog post

Related articles:
Jolla snares $12M to license Sailfish OS, hints at upcoming Turing smartphone
Jolla finally secures Series C funding
Sailfish OS backer Jolla to lay off half of its staff as it hunts for new funding
Jolla offers first taste of Sailfish OS 2.0
Jolla signs first Sailfish Alliance partner, as it seeks device OEMs