Jolla have endured a torrid few months. We’ve seen the company implement debt restructuring, struggle to secure sufficient funding, lay-off a large chunk of its workforce, and announce to its thousands of crowdsourcing backers that it was not going to be able to fulfil its commitments to deliver its tablet. Now, Jolla has provided more details on its next steps via the firm’s blog.
Jolla has confirmed that, due mostly to the financial difficulties the firm suffered during the back-end of last year, they will not be able to fulfil delivery of Jolla tablets to all 21,633 backers who collectively contributed more than $2.5m towards the “first crowdsourced tablet”.
Having suffered the typical crowdsourcing production issues which caused the usual “unexpected delays” and the now standard missed estimated shipment date of November 2015, Jolla managed to ship just 121 tablets in October last year. These were used to test the order and logistics chain, which appear to have functioned as planned…even if the tablet production and fulfilment hasn’t.
Jolla has now confirmed that due to the firm’s funding issues, the tablet suppliers and manufacturers no longer have the parts or the capacity to complete the manufacturing of the tablets. As a result, Jolla only has another 540 tablets that it can deliver to backers!
The firm had initially indicated that it would not leave tablet-less backers empty handed and encouraged speculation as to what that might mean, implying that there may have been some alternative it could offer.
It has now confirmed its plans and in a welcomed change from many failed crowdsourcing projects, Jolla have has advised that all backers who do not receive a tablet will instead receive a refund…maybe.
Due to the tight financial situation the firm is still in, the refunds will be spread over a year, with the first half completed by the end of Q1 2016, and the remainder at some point in the following nine months…providing Jolla’s financial situation permits it.
Based on that extended timeframe and final caveat of “financial situation permitting”, I am sure every backer wants to be in that first round of refunds. But at least Jolla has taken some proactive steps to ensure that its backers are not out of pocket even if the vast majority never receive the tablet for which they hoped and paid.
The firm has also confirmed that it is in talks with various other companies for the licensing of its promising Sailfish OS. So it seems that while the tablet might have been one step too far, and Jolla may have angered and/or disappointed a number of fans and potential customers with its failure, the company may yet have a role in challenging Android and iOS in the mobile OS sphere.