Jolla plans to join the 4G feature phone market in India

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Jolla (opens in new tab), the Finnish smartphone vendor, is prepared to launch their second phone in the Indian market with its new Sailfish operating system (opens in new tab) (OS) customized for 4G feature phones (opens in new tab). The OS labeled Sailfish X, is available for download (opens in new tab) for smartphone users. 

Reports say that the company is in the final stages of negotiating with a “large telecom operator” as well as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), to bring the v3 version-powered 4G feature phone to India.

Sami Pienimaki, the CEO, told ETtelecom (opens in new tab) that, “The feature phone is something that came to us through a customer case from India. This is something we are definitely looking forward to. The product [operating system] is ready on our side, and it is now more about the go to the market operation.”

This will bring Jolla in direct competition with the JioPhone (opens in new tab) in the feature phone segment, which is set to expand even further this year. Reports suggest that the shipment of devices with more than double from 18-19 million in 2017 to over 40 million in 2018.

The Nokia 8110 4G to launch in India soon

The Nokia 8110 4G to launch in India soon

The JioPhone has seen a lot of success due to Reliance Jio’s Rs 49 a month recharge (opens in new tab) offer. The telecom has been accused of starting a price war in the sector as well as allegations that certain Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regulations (opens in new tab) are in favor of the one company while leaving other mobile carriers to fend on their own. 

Even Nokia Mobile (opens in new tab)’s feature phones recorded 20.7 million units in sales. Other contenders in the feature phone market include Samsung (opens in new tab) with 15 percent market share in Q4 2017, followed by Micromax (opens in new tab) and Itel (opens in new tab).

There’s even going to be another new player in the market. China’s Transsion has plans of launching their own 4G feature phones in India this year. 

 Sailfish OS

In comparison to the JioPhone, which runs on KaiOS (opens in new tab) with support for Facebook (opens in new tab), the Jolla feature phone with run on the Sailfish OS. Pienimaki even made it clear that they won’t be launching an Android Go (opens in new tab) phone since it will, “force-feed Google services to users even if they don’t need them.”

The Sailfish OS currently supports Qualcomm (opens in new tab)’s 2015 mobile platform as well as chipsets from MediaTek (opens in new tab) and Spreadtrum (opens in new tab). Even though MediaTek don't have a specific solution for 4G feature phones, Pienimaki says that their low-end smartphone processors can still be customized for 4G feature phone functionality. 

Jolla started the Sailfish OS Alliance, which is a network of partners designed to create more opportunities for regional device vendors as well as premium internet service providers, back in 2011. It currently includes Indian players like Snapdeal.com.

Aside from India, Jolla also has plans of expanding into other Asian markets like Thailand. Its OS is already being sold within the European Union (EU) region. 

Prabhjote Gill is the Senior Journalist at Business Insider India. She covering everything space, tech and defence at Business Insider India. She is also in-charge of allocating stories to junior writers.