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[Idea] Cheaper Developer Phone

asked 2015-02-15 19:13:35 +0300

sifartech gravatar image

updated 2015-02-16 04:15:52 +0300

There have been suggestions here that Jolla should explore on how to make it easier to port apps from Tizen and Ubuntu Mobile, as they share some common heritage with Sailfish too. It's a good idea.

I would like to add another element to that discussion and also suggest that Jolla also offer a cheaper, sub-$100 phone. Developers need hardware to test their device, and such devices needn't necessarily be the top of the line. If all of you (Jolla, Canonical, Samsung / Intel) insist on launching your OS's only on expensive hard-wares, it makes it difficult for us developers even if we are interested. (I think this is also one of the strategy being adopted by Samsung for Z1, which is a < $100 phone, for Tizen.)

Ofcourse, with the limited resources at hand, it could be difficult for Jolla to spend time and money on designing a new phone from scratch. An easier way to do this would be:

  • Contact Canonical and Samsung, and seek their help to port Sailfish OS, to their Tizen / Ubuntu Mobile phones, and then provide the ported Sailfish OS images to any interested developer for a small charge ($10 or $20). And offer to port Tizen and Ubuntu Mobile to the Jolla phones too, under similar terms and conditions.

(I know this is a bit of a wishful thinking but doesn't hurt to ask them right?)

  • Or select an affordable Indian / Chinese phone (< $100) and port Sailfish to that hardware with the help of that manufacturer. Provide an incentive for the manufacturer by holding a kickstarter / indiegogo type funding for developers to pre-order such a phone (like you did with the Tablet).
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i think currnt phone will cost 100 euros in a year, when a new Jolla phone arrives

virgi26 ( 2015-02-15 19:38:28 +0300 )edit

@virgi26 - I doubt it - pricing is always very subjective, and corporates like to price their phones for the maximum profit it can sell, and not with a simple profit formula of "marking it up" for x% profit.

sifartech ( 2015-02-15 20:23:45 +0300 )edit

@sifartech, sure, but when you have players like oneplus (zero profit margins) and xiaomi (subsidised by PRC) bringing out top spec devices for low low prices then the big companies have no choice but to compete.

r0kk3rz ( 2015-02-15 20:41:00 +0300 )edit

@r0kk3rz - Agree to a certain extent. Jolla's business model, however, is making and selling software. So it makes more sense for Jolla to release a low cost "developer" phone (or port to such a phone) and market the phone as such. For example, Samsung Z1 and the new Ubuntu Mobile phone mostly gets negative reviews over the hardware specs. But this could can be countered by Jolla saying that that the specs are low to reduce cost to make the phone affordable to developers too (and they could actually have got positive reviews for it too). Many still bought the Z1 or Ubuntu phones, despite the negative reviews of the hardware spec. This implies that even if the phone would have been targeted / marketed at developers, these consumers would still have bought it because they were interested in it.

sifartech ( 2015-02-15 21:56:40 +0300 )edit

I think the current set of " free " phones we have are awesome . At the lowest end we have firefox os . In the middle layer we have Tizen OS , somewhere next comes Sailfish os and ubuntu. Its choice and they are not competing with each other. My only hope is that they should challenge the apple-google duopoly in the market. Next ofcourse would be cross compatability of apps. Check this thread for firefox os https://together.jolla.com/question/1020/support-for-firefox-os-apps/

pavi ( 2015-02-15 22:37:56 +0300 )edit

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answered 2015-02-15 19:25:03 +0300

r0kk3rz gravatar image

it should be straight forward to port sailfishos to ubuntu phones as they are both using hybris for hardware adaptation.

so once there exists cheap ubuntu phones, you can have your cheap sailfishos dev device.

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Will there be a cheap Ubuntu phone? :)

sifartech ( 2015-02-15 20:27:14 +0300 )edit

Added to that Ubuntu phone also uses QML . You can also port sailfish os apps to Ubuntu and vice versa. http://developer.ubuntu.com/en/apps/qml/

pavi ( 2015-02-15 22:40:10 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-02-15 23:00:59 +0300

pichlo gravatar image

A cheap "developer" phone is tricky. How do you want to prevent everyone going for the cheap "develiper" edition and ignoring the "standard" one? Jolla could easily find itself out of the pocket.

I have a counter-suggestion. An incentive scheme for the developers. Everyone fixing a Sailfish bug or implementing a missing feature gets €50. Everyone publishing a new app in Harbour gets €10 once the download count reaches 100. (Or a variant on the theme, I am not stuck on the details.) That is an investment Jolla can easily afford and it could help them to bridge the lack of resources, the often quoted reason for bugs not fixed and features not implemented for over a year.

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You don't prevent anyone from going for the cheaper version. Whether people buy the cheap phone or the more costlier one, Jolla wins as (1) they make profit (2) their user base increases. (Please note that when I say cheap, I am not saying Jolla should sell the phone at a loss or at-cost.) People will buy the phones they can afford. Also, the main hurdle that Jolla faces in selling Sailfish to new customers is that it lacks apps. Developers make apps. They won't if they don't have a device to work on. (Also, Jolla isn't in the business of making mobile devices, but is a software company. And that should be there focus - porting and selling the Sailfish OS.)

sifartech ( 2015-02-16 04:08:53 +0300 )edit

Whilst I think your idea is a good one, those sums are fairly insulting and would have no effect.

boip ( 2015-02-16 13:49:59 +0300 )edit

@boip - Without apps, Sailfish won't become popular. Right? Now, do you really expect a developer to make an app / port an app for a platform that isn't popular? So if developers do want to make or port an app, despite the lack of popularity of the Sailfish platform, you want to encourage them and make it easier for them to do so. Not try to squeeze the most profit out of them. In the long-run, it will be a win-win for everyone - Jolla, the developer, the user.

sifartech ( 2015-02-18 19:38:02 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2015-02-15 19:13:35 +0300

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Last updated: Feb 16 '15