Late last week Finnish mobile startup Jolla launched a crowdfunding campaign for a tablet running its open source Sailfish OS*, smashing past its initial funding goal of $380,000 in a couple of hours. It has since pushed past the $1 million mark, with around $1.18M now pledged from more than 7,370 backers of the Indiegogo campaign.
Speaking in an interview with TechCrunch prior to the campaign kicking off Jolla co-founder Marc Dillon was bullish. “I think we’re going to sell out,” he said. “I believe that we will quickly see the small initial targets, we will put up some stretch goals. I think that we’re going to sell a lot of tablets.”
Well, Dillon certainly wasn’t underestimating the appetite for tablet device running open source software. Sailfish’s trump card is arguably compatibility with Android, meaning devices running the OS are not limited to the sub-set of native Sailfish apps, but can also run Android apps — greatly expanding the software ecosystem users are able to tap into.
It’s a ‘cake and eat’ it type approach for a startup whose initial pitch was about building a different kind of mobile device — i.e. different to the dominant Android platform. But given Android’s commanding grip on the mobile space, app compatibility is a savvy strategy for a mobile underdog.
Since passing the $1 million funding mark, Jolla has expanded its tablet Indiegogo campaign to two more countries, with Australia and Canada now also able to pledge after a public vote. The tablet was already available to buyers in the European Union, plus Norway and Switzerland, and the U.S., China, Hong Kong, India and Russia.
To celebrate passing the $1 million funding mark Jolla has also temporarily cut the price of its extant mobile device, a smartphone, by €100 to European buyers purchasing it via its online shop. The discount offer — of €249 for the smartphone — expires on or before next Tuesday. The phone went on sale this time last year, kicking off to buyers in Finland.
Jolla’s Tablet, meanwhile, is due to ship to backers around the middle of next year.
*NB: Sailfish has not yet been open sourced, although the core OS is based on an open source project and has open source elements