It almost seemed like a fairy tale, with Jolla successfully funding not one but two Jolla Tablet crowdfunding campaigns, raking in thousands of dollars in the process. After a more or less prestigious Jolla smartphone, there was very little doubt that the Finnish startup would be able to deliver. It seems that things were too good to be true, however, and now Jolla is officially confirming the writing on the wall. The Jolla Tablet dream is no more and only the remaining 540 units in stock will be shipped. The rest, instead, will get refunds.
Jolla co-founder and board chair Antii Saarnio goes to great lengths to explain the long, almost dramatic series of unfortunate events that landed Jolla in this undesirable situation. Despite the crowdfunding’s resounding success in early 2015, Jolla immediately encountered problems in the supply chain. Call it wishful thinking, overestimation, or maybe even pride, but Jolla thought it could ride it all with minimal delay.
But while Jolla was still sorting out problems with external partners, it suffered a huge internal hit that would see it file for debt-restructuring. Like a pile of dominoes, one financial problem led to another, which eventually saw Jolla “temporarily” laying off half its work force. By the time Jolla’s funding reached it in December, it was far too late for the Jolla Tablet to recover.
To make the long story shorter, Jolla’s partners no longer have the capability to make more tablets, leaving Jolla with only 540 units left. These will be shipped to backers, who should probably consider themselves lucky to hold a piece of history, no matter how cursed it might be. The rest who put in money for the tablet will be given full refunds, including for shipping and accessories. The refunds, however, won’t be coming all at once. Some will get theirs in the first quarter of this year. The rest, “financial situation permitting”, will be delivered a year later. Meaning early 2017.
Clearly, Jolla isn’t in the clear yet, despite finally securing its much needed and delayed funding. Refunds will, of course, incur it more losses, and it still has to hire back some of the employees it let go, some of which have decided to cut ties completely. Should it survive all that, it will be focusing on licensing its Sailfish OS instead and moving away from the very risky business of making and selling devices.