(This is part of my previous post moved to here as it was making that post a bit unreadable. So if you read that one yesterday, there’s nothing to see here. 😉 )
Jolla is the closest thing to Nokia’s MeeGo as it is developed by people from Nokia and inherits as much as possible from Nokia’s MeeGo. In addition, Jolla is free from Intel infection. I promised not to do any posts about risks, shortcomings or alike about Jolla. Just to let it be as awesome as a MeeGo device can be. That was with one exception: I said that if Jolla delays their launch, I will definitely write a post about it.
Sorry guys – you did.
I said If I would do full post about Jolla, I would title it “Jolla – concept doomed to fail“. That post will not be coming. But I’ll explain to you now why I feel Jolla won’t be the “next big thing”. And please let’s get this right: Jolla is a small player and they have done tons of stuff right. And I start from that:
Jolla’s own choices – right ones
Jolla has gathered partners in resales, HW partners, operators,… All this is good stuff. All needed.
Jolla has taken the technologically advanced no-compromise high-level multitasking OS and kept it. (Known as Sailfish OS now). Excellent.
Jolla has made the UI attractive – big thing. Very good.
Sailfish OS sports cross-platform framework (Qt) to boost the developer ecosystem – perfect!
This is all right things. And all this is in tight control of Jolla, i.e. they can decide themselves if they wish to do this or not.
Choice of ecosystem – not Jolla’s choice
So why I’m not having faith in Jolla to be a big player? It’s the things they can’t affect. There is fierce competition between Android manufacturers so I feel it is sensible business idea (the core of Jolla’s business, actually) to use different OS that they can use to differentiate. They have all the control for OS, which is – as said – excellent. Then the problematic part: Developer ecosystem has interest towards Sailfish/Qt which is still good news, but when actual business is done, choice is simple: money talks. Application development is based on user base and profitability and currently SW houses make applications in order of iOS, Android, something else. (Plausibly Android comes first but if this was a paid app, Apple customers are more easily spending the $$$ for their apps.)
So who gets the third place? It could be Windows Phone, if Microsoft and Nokia happen to be
paying negotiating with the company to make the choice profitable sound interesting. Or it could be Qt, which puts Symbian, MeeGo, Sailfish (and soon BB10, iOS and Android) under same umbrella. Latter is tempting from development point of view, but Qt as framework is not in hands of Jolla.
Nokia MeeGo failed while Qt was being forced to work on Symbian and MeeGo. The reason was the Nokia teams were working in silos – it was like two teams playing Pictionary and expecting exactly same drawing to come out. Jolla is not doing this but I fear that Digia (current owner of Qt) will not be able to roll out attractive Qt framework across all OSes before it’s too late for Jolla that has no way to affect the schedule of Digia/Qt. (Prove me wrong on this one, Qt guys!)
Since we talk about ecosystem, I should mention the app offering. Starting from 0 is a bad idea, so Jolla is going to make Android apps run on Jolla devices. That is excellent news…
…for Google, RIM and Microsoft. You see, the previous example SW developers (plausibly waiting for next Qt release if Digia delays schedules) are making the choice for third port of their app. It becomes very tempting to skip Sailfish from “the list of OSes to port my app to” (as Android version already covered it) and start thinking between e.g. BB10 and Windows Phone versions. Once again, Qt is the key here. The code could be made with Qt to begin with and therefore Sailfish OS build would be trivial, but for already existing apps the porting is less urgent. (And the developer choice to use Qt for new apps is once again depending on Digia/Qt, not Jolla.)
Last (but not least) is the customer appeal. For the starters Jolla/Sailfish products will be looking for early adopters. It is rather compelling to say people buy those phones as they can run same Android apps as the previous phone did, but it could just as well backfire because people buy Android phone that they know will run those apps instead of Jolla/Sailfish that should run those apps.
(Not to mention the fact that Apple and Samsung are going to use marketing money few orders of magnitude greater than Jolla.)
I believe Jolla is going to grow through 2013. They will get a small slot with Sailfish OS. Anything forward that is up to variables I feel they do not have control over. If stars are right, Jolla can take off. If not, they make niche devices and thanks to resales&operator partners Jolla will sell those in 6-digit quantities to make the cash flow positive for a small company. Unfortunately market share of such company will be included in rounding errors.
I may be wrong in all this. As said, mobile space is moving so fast anything is still possible.
I’ll shut up about Jolla until they
delay again launch their devices.