Jolla signs distribution deal with D.Phone, China’s largest phone retailer

Jolla, the small startup company composed of former Nokia engineers who worked on Maemo/MeeGo and who want to bring their own device to market, has just announced via Twitter that they’ve signed their first sales deal. Since Jolla doesn’t have an official website yet there’s sadly no press release we can link to, but somehow the Finnish website Androidistica got their hands on the following:

Jolla Ltd. and China’s Largest Smartphone Retail Chain D.Phone Sign Product Sales Agreement

Jolla Ltd., a rising Finnish smartphone product company, has signed a Sales and Distribution agreement with D.Phone Group, the largest mobile phones retail chain in China. Together the companies have a shared target to reach significant sales volumes in China’s 150 million smartphone market. The agreement is such that D.Phone will start sales and distribution of Jolla smartphones in China, utilising D.Phone’s vast network of over 2,000 retail stores to reach the Chinese consumers.

Mr. Donghai Liu, Founder and CEO of D.Phone Group: “We see great potential for Jolla as a new player in the Chinese smartphone market with Jolla’s fresh and unique user experience. Together with Jolla our aim is to reach significant sales volumes.”

Dr. Antti Saarnio, Chairman of Jolla Ltd.: “China has the largest and most rapidly expanding smartphone market in the world. This agreement with D.Phone is a major step in Jolla’s journey towards becoming a significant player in the global smartphone market.”

Jolla Ltd. is an independent Finland based smartphone product company that will
reveal its first product later this year. Jolla was founded in 2011 by a team of former Nokia mobile industry professionals. The company is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland and has an R&D office in Tampere, Finland.

D.Phone is China’s largest chain retailer of mobile phones and accessories with extensive nationwide retail coverage of over 2,000 outlets across the country. D.Phone is a strategic partner with China Mobile, China Telecom and China

It’s kind of funny that the first sentence says Jolla is a “rising Finnish smartphone product company”, yet in the second to last paragraph it says that the company will “reveal its first product later this year”. How can it be rising if sales haven’t even started yet?

Anyway, expect to hear more about Jolla over the next few months. Who will sell their phone in Europe? In America? What’s their new UI all about? What specs will their first device have? How much will it cost?

There are many unanswered questions.

  • Anonymous

    This is a great deal for Jolla.

    China is likely to be very receptive to a MeeGo-based device. China Mobile were a big supporter of MeeGo and Nokia burned their bridges with China Mobile (the biggest Chinese carrier, with over 650mn subscribers) when Nokia bailed on MeeGo. The N9 was also well received in China.

    And with Nokia recently being forced to close down two of their four sales offices, and sales dropping 70% year-on-year according to Q1 figures, it
    sounds like Jolla are putting in place the partnerships that could lead to the smartphone success in China that Nokia has failed to achieve with Windows Phone.

    Jolla do need a website though…

    • I worry about a bunch of engineers in Finland thinking that they know what’s right for the Chinese market. With companies like¬†Xiaomi and Baidu making phones for their local audience … can a foreign player compete?

      Of course the answer is yes when you consider the iPhone, but I’m talking about the mid range and low end.

      We’ll see, I’m following these Jolla guys like a hawk. It helps that their offices are 2 km away from my apartment.

      • Anonymous

        Are they aiming for the mid-range let alone the low-end?

        Presumably they can also afford to be quite flexible in terms of what they are bringing to market as they have no legacy to worry about, I’d have expected the business partners to chip in with their local requirements before signing any deals.

        But this deal does show that at least in some parts of the world Jolla are being taken seriously – let’s hope this continues in the west. I do feel there is a gap in the market for a small company like Jolla offering something fresh and innovative and also truly open that isn’t a walled garden. In fact if you do buy into the two-horse race point of view then maybe there is only room left in the market for small companies that have chosen to avoid Android, which is bad news for Nokia and Microsoft.

        • They haven’t commented regarding which price points they’re aiming to hit, but hell, even companies like HTC are having a hard time securing components for their flagship devices, so I’m thinking the first Jolla phone will be the equivalent of a 2010 Android flagship when it comes to specs.

          • Anonymous

            Nokia engineers had the most experience with TI OMAP, and TI have some decent enough tech that isn’t being widely used in devices now that Qualcomm seem to have the Android and WP market pretty much sewn up. Also the ST-Ericsson Nova SoC was MeeGo compatible and is of a decent spec. High resolution displays could be more of a problem though, also getting flash in quantity at a decent price.

            Fair point though, component supply is a problem for even established players so they’ll have to make some smart deals to avoid announcing a 2010-spec device in 2012. But with Nokia dying on it’s arse maybe that frees up some supply – let’s face it, Nokia will be making (let alone selling) precious few smartphones between now and the end of the year. Although having said that, I doubt anyone would want to use in 2012 the components Nokia have been using to date in their Windows Phones…

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