Jolla announces home-grown Indian mobe-maker as first Sailfish licensee

So who's going to sell – and buy – these things?

As Jolla hinted earlier this month, it announced the first Sailfish licensee at Mobile World Congress Asia as being Intex.

Intex is claimed by Jolla to be India’s second largest smartphone manufacturer, and manufactures in both India and China, and has a range of Android phones sold under the Aqua brand. The phone should appear by the end of the year.

Part of the incentive for Indian customers and manufacturers to opt for Sailfish is an ecosystem tailored for Indian consumers, which includes deals with e-tailers Times Internet and Snapdeal.

Jolla says the coup of signing Intex is a portent of things to come: “With the release of Sailfish OS 2.0, the next generation version of its mobile operating system, Jolla is now set to license its OS to device vendors globally.”

And to help companies to jump on the bandwagon, Jolla has built a 4G reference platform – a recipe for building Sailfish phones – which the company claims will “enable quick time-to-market for licensing partners".

“Jolla has developed a range of optimised Sailfish OS hardware platforms from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 200/600/800 configurations, a highly scalable mobile processor family offering 4G LTE to everyone in all price ranges," it added.

Arntti Saarnio, executive chairman of Jolla, said, in a canned quote: "In our BRICS country strategy we have been proceeding fastest in India, which is one the most important markets in the future of mobile. We have seen a lot of interest among Indian device vendors, digital media houses, and mobile operators, and they all are very keen to work with an alternative to the currently dominating mobile operating systems.”

It’s good that Jolla has succeeded in getting a partner on-board, but if the strategy of emerging markets first sounds familiar, that’s because it’s very close to the strategy of “not Google or Apple” which Firefox pursued and failed.

But while Firefox had the backing of operators – notably a vocal Telefonica – Jolla has no such support. It’s not going to be about how good the phone is but who wants to make, sell and buy them. ®

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