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A Phone For The People - An Interview With Marc Dillon, CEO of Jolla

Following the launch at Slush, that we covered earlier, we had a nice interview with Marc Dillon, CEO of Jolla. Marc is formerly the COO of Jolla and in the recent restructuring of the company, replaced Jussi Hurmola as the CEO.

With all the people talking about Jolla, I wanted to figure out what exactly is Jolla. The short answer, according to Marc, is that it is a new branded mobile phone company. While at the same time they are also developing the Sailfish operating system. So basically it is like Google and Android, just not as big, yet.

Sailfish will be an open source operating system and hence will be available for a multitude of other devices and manufacturers to use. This is also important because “[They] are building [Sailfish] for the people and not a specific market segment. “

Of course Jolla mobile phones will be running Sailfish but when will they be available? Well, there isn’t exactly a date yet, but Marc told me that they are going to announce a flagship device in the first part of 2013 and launch it before summer.

This means that they are moving in fast and perhaps while the big boys fight up top, Jolla can surprise everybody by gaining a significant market share or at the very least, reasonable growth.

They have certainly chosen their entry point well by making a deal with D.Phone in China, which has thousands of retail stores. China is a very big and dynamic market and is the perfect place to hunt for market share. Here in Finland, they have also made a deal with DNA, so at least we will have early access as well.

Still, Samsung, Apple and Goolge are dominating the market and for some, it would seem that there is no more space for a new player. But according to Marc, “.. there is very little choice for consumers and the way that you use the devices has been similar for years and we see very little change there... [SailFish] is very fun to use, the interface is very simple, its very powerful at the same time. You can use applications with a very small interface without needing to go in and out of applications. You can leave many things open at the same time, but still in an organized fashion, powerful and accessible. So if you use a music player, chat, e-mail and phone, you can leave those open and ready at all times and access them with a touch of a finger instead of the things you are normally doing. ”

The application “covers” are kind of like widgets but available for all applications and are much easier to use. Each application has a cover on your screen that you can use to do basic tasks such as calling your favorite contacts or changing the song on the spot. All of which is at the same time and without entering the application, ever. (Unless you want to do more complex things)

The backend is also impressive. For instance Jolla demoed a native phone application that had a dozen lines of code (To those of you who are not developers, that is not a lot and is kinda impressive). Marc also mentioned that even managers told him that they are able to create applications. It even runs Android apps (Most of them, anyways).

With all of this information, I was intrigued and wanted to try it, now. So I asked Marc if I could run it on my Galaxy S3, to which he calmly replied:

“Enabling Sailfish for a device such as Galaxy S3 is something that any community member could already do.”

This kind of openness is enticing.

Here's The Kick Network's preview of the Sailfish UI.

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