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Jolla Feature Phone

asked 2015-08-21 06:26:55 +0300

marsch gravatar image

updated 2015-08-21 06:46:57 +0300

There are loads of situations, were a simple handset would well serve the cause, yet there is no real product which

  • is not a smartphone
  • is decently manufactured
  • offers extended battery lifetime
  • looks good and has a sensible form-factor
  • has a well thought user interface
  • is available at a competitive price
  • is free of superfluos hardware/features

Wouldn't it be good to have a nice quality feature phone with Sailfish underneath the hood, serving but the simplest of purposes, i.e. phone calls an short messaging?

I repeatedly questioned myself why there are exclusively manufacturers who either produce low-quality throw-away handsets targeted for 2nd and 3rd world markets - or over-rugged pseudo-outdoor stuff not reliably usable if you're 5 days away from the next wall plug.

Personally, I see quite some demand for a good product in this area, and I believe Jolla could fill the gap. I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts regarding this issue.

Thank you in advance.

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You are absolutely right, but there is one thing I don't understand.

Why this phone will ever need SailfishOS?..

All simple handsets use Harvard architecture, which is perfect for tasks you described. They do not use OS, they use firmware which is not loaded to RAM but ran directly from EEPROM. This gives loads of advantages, including prolonged battery life. SailfishOS has nothing to do with that. We already have a perfect firmware for handsets, and it is called Symbian S40. It is feature-rich, rock solid, and ergonomical. And there are lots of pricey high-end devices, not only "low-quality throw-away handsets targeted for 2nd and 3rd world markets".

ScumCoder ( 2015-08-21 08:26:00 +0300 )edit

@ScrumCoder I basically agree... Just one thing: S40 isn't Symbian. It's a totally different operating sysyem.

ossi1967 ( 2015-08-21 09:35:07 +0300 )edit

Oh, really? Which ones - manufactured after 2012 - do really meet the above criteria? I don't see any disadvantage in operating even a simple phone with a stripped down subset of an OS thats well maintained.

marsch ( 2015-08-21 10:01:17 +0300 )edit

I have a drawer-full of Nokia phones. The one I use every day us a 6100 because it's light. Only disadvantage - it's 2g only - and the operators round here seem to think it's fine to take 2g down for hours at a time and nobody will notice.

So voice, text, simple messaging, 3 and 4g, and less than 50 grams.

I would have thought e-ink would be too slow.

DaveRo ( 2015-08-21 10:10:04 +0300 )edit

When reading you it reminded me of Fairphones.

I own one, from the first generation, bought at a time it consted less than half a Jolla phone, and I said to myself, 'it'd be very cool if such a reasonable phone would come with Sailfish'.

But at this moment, the Fairphone company are preparing the sale of their next model, and... it is a super smartphone, now costing more than a Jolla one...

So while I still believe the Fairphone experience is worth, on their side it'll probably remain a good idea... but for next year...

Herve5 ( 2015-08-21 15:34:11 +0300 )edit

3 Answers

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answered 2015-08-21 11:28:44 +0300

bilgy_no1 gravatar image

Well, the market for dumbphones is shrinking rapidly, and main reason is customer demand.

Nokia were still selling tens of millions of feature phones, but according to the latest Microsoft reports this is also in decline. In most Western countries, a vast majority of people now use smartphones. In The Netherlands already in 2013, 72% of people used a smartphone! This will only have increased since then. It is safe to assume that the people who are still on feature phones are not very likely to buy a high end feature phone (~€100) instead of a cheap €25 model.

In the developing nations, this process is lagging a little bit. But most customers will aspire to have a smartphone instead of a feature phone. S40 phones (Nokia) were still selling strongly until recently, but this is changing. Reasons are two fold: 1) growing middle and upper classes in those countries; 2) more and better smartphones available at lower prices (Nokia Lumia 4xx/5xx series, Motorola, Huawei, but also Firefox aiming at a $35 smartphone, Google One now rolling out throughout India etc).

If you want a really long battery life, what you can do is turn off the mobile data connections, WiFi and Bluetooth. You basically end up with feature phone connectivity, and battery life will improve dramatically. Not up to a month, but definitely 4-5 days is possible on the Jolla (I've experienced this on holidays when I turn mobile data off).

It should also be possible to make a 'dumbed down' interface (i.e. B/W interface, special homescreen with dialpad and not much else, etc.). Some Android phones resort to such an interface in low-battery situations.

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answered 2015-08-21 07:32:05 +0300

Ghost gravatar image

updated 2015-08-21 16:00:10 +0300

Yeah it is a better idea to implement ........ A sturdy black and white touch phone that woul be as useful as the nokia 1100.. with additional features that could be incorporated and have a wide range of acceptence rather than having to spend a lot in wanting a phone that would be in a beta state..

1) this could be money raiser where jolla employees can build a flawless OS 2) this could be a revolutionary phone as the nokia 1100.

Basic functionalities like Phone calls Messaging Calender Calculator Clock-Alarm-stopwatch-timer music player Etc......

All these could be have a basic black and white phone which doesnt use any color... this phone could have the incorporation of the e-ink technonlogy. which is a real battery saver and could have a wide variety of effect among the users

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True, E-Ink would be a sane choice.

marsch ( 2015-08-21 08:11:37 +0300 )edit

for what? To show the caller ID?

Macilaci457 ( 2015-08-21 09:41:11 +0300 )edit

As the single display for any user interaction, just like the Motorola F3.

marsch ( 2015-08-21 10:11:16 +0300 )edit

The idea of a phone with E-Ink display sounds tempting for a feature phone. However, I don´t see this going well with the gesture-based nature of SailfishOS GUI. Also I don´t see what the point is in using SailfishOS on a feature phone anyway. The whole idea of having an open OS is to be able to extend it. Be it by means of App installation, patches or whatnot.

What I read between the lines of the original question is that you would like to have a phone that is easy to use and that has a long battery life. Well, isn´t this the dream of everybody anyway? :) However, maybe the GUI of SailfishOS can be tuned to work with a b/w or grayscale LCD Display? It certainly should be capable of displaying a decent number of FPS while I think E-Ink is just too slow. Yet, there probably will be a lot of Apps that will look hideous without colors.

Venty ( 2015-08-21 12:22:07 +0300 )edit

Yeah,, rather than e-ink.. normal LCD displays should be provided for better functionality of the OS

Ghost ( 2015-08-21 16:01:15 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-08-22 06:43:19 +0300

I get the item posed, and to some extent agree with the answers. But, if Jolla were to build a feature phone - or something like it - I would rather they went towards form factors a bit more unique. For example:

  • watches (think Samsung Gear S
  • credit card shaped (there was an LG device like this a half decade ago)
  • and if the UI supported navigation by voice, an ear-piece driven device that worked as a driver to (perhaps) the Jolla Tablet

Feature phones have a distinct appeal because they more or less are there when needed, fade to the background when they aren't, and are consciously bulletproof - they don't require much in the way of thinking to get it setup, used, fixed, and sometimes customized.

But, as a previous answer stated, the market for feature phones is falling quickly. For the market that is there, SailfishOS has not proven to be so inexpensive a proposition that it makes more sense than the (carrier data plan packaging) cheap Android device. Its probably a concession to say that any necessary mobile worth developing needs to be a smartphone of some kind; but current trends in sales point towards that concession as being the right way to frame whether a feature phone is a smart run.

I do think alternate form factor mobiles aren't explored enough. And I assume (because I've lived w/my Gear S as my main mobile for the past few months) that SailfishOS could probably do ok on that platform. But, the audial aspects need much more improvement to make that real; as does connecting to services that make/break some apps on other smartphone platforms (notification center, workflow agents like IFTTT, etc.). Its doable. But, not much time to wait for the pace of current development to make it happen. SailfishOS needs to mature quick to make such a device prospect viable before the next shift is plainly noted.

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Asked: 2015-08-21 06:26:55 +0300

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Last updated: Aug 22 '15