The first Jolla Phone is too expensive

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| November 14, 2013

Jolla has been hard at work on something new for quite awhile now, and it's been a little bit of time since we heard anything about their Sailfish-powered device. It hasn't necessarily completely dropped off the map, but it was getting pretty close there. It was back in September when we heard about the specs for their first phone, and since then the group has essentially gone dark.

I would imagine that was essential for the final phases of the release, which is right around the corner thanks to announcements made today. It helps that we knew just about everything we needed to know about the Jolla Phone, the first device running Sailfish OS, up until now. The hardware, and a lot of the features of the software had already been revealed, and there was plenty of buzz around the device leading up to the final pieces of the announcement.

Unfortunately, I can't help but think that the buzz for the new device may die down a bit because of the last pieces of information.

Like I said, we knew quite a bit about the Jolla Phone leading up to today. Jolla had already confirmed the specifications of the device, and we'd already seen the software in use on test devices. We know Sailfish OS is compatible with Android apps and Android-based hardware. But, for a lot of people, just the fact that Sailfish OS is new and a nice change of pace versus iOS or Android, might be enough to get them to switch over.

Will that be the case? It's honestly hard to tell, especially right now since the phone's just been given a release date and price. However, it may be that price tag that keeps a lot of people away from Sailfish OS and Jolla, rather than pull them in. After all, the attractiveness and appeal of a piece of software can only lead someone so far before they see a price tag, and have to make a decision there. Obviously if it's too high, well, it may not matter how much they want the phone. It may just not be a possibility.

The Jolla Phone is a mid-range device through-and-through, and there's nothing wrong with that. While some of its features may not be that great, like the 4.5-inch qHD (960 x 540) display, others like the 8MP camera on the back may not be too shabby at all. Couple all of that with the brand new mobile OS, which has no app support out of the box for the platform natively, then the €399 price tag (which is about $535) looks a bit too high in my opinion.

Honestly, that's just from a hardware position. I know that Jolla believes the appeal of a new mobile OS will sway some folks to buy a Jolla Phone, but I can't imagine it has the same result for the majority of people who are looking to buy a new phone. They could spend the same amount of money, and maybe even less depending on the options available to them, and go with something far more established. That just seems like the safer bet, especially on new hardware running brand new software.

The first Jolla Phone should be cheaper, as far as I'm concerned. As a mid-range device, it should probably be cheaper, when you consider that display. (qHD? Really?) But, more than anything, it should be cheaper to get more people willing to buy the device and try out Sailfish OS. The more people that buy the phone, even if you only have limited stock, means that you'll get more people talking about the handset and software. That's the ultimate goal, right?

Pricing a device high doesn't get that same result, unless you're a company like Apple or Samsung. I'm not saying that Jolla won't sell any Jolla Phones, because I know they will. I just believe that if they really wanted to make a splash in the market, and get their new platform out there for a lot of people to get their hands on and talk about, they should have moved that price slider the other way. At least for their first device. If they want to launch a high-end device next year, then that price tag could be justified. Not this time around, though.

What do you think of the Jolla Phone? Do you think it's priced accordingly for the device itself, or is it too high? Are you going to try to get your hands on one? Do you believe Jolla's Sailfish OS stands a chance in this competitive mobile market? Are you even interested in Sailfish OS? Let me know what you think!