Can Jolla benefit from the US-China trade war?

The announced trade war on China that caused a tremendous negative impact on Huawei, might turn out great for other companies. For example, Nokia Mobile could benefit from the Huawei’s market share losses across the world, only if they play cunningly during the next few months, and announce good value smartphones. Another company that could eventually benefit from the Huawei’s currently hard position is Jolla.

As you might know already, Jolla is a small Finnish startup that developed a well known and independent OS for smartphones and feature phones which is currently the best alternative to Android and iOS. Jolla’s strategy is to push its main product, Sailfish OS, to the BRICS countries. Back in 2016, Indian company Intex lauched the Aqua Fish smartphone lineup that was running the Sailfish OS. Unfortunately, the phones were limited for India what stopped the wider spread of those phones. This year Russia took Sailfish to be the main OS used by the government-owned companies and the state itself. Since Russian state-owned Rostelecom acquired 75% of the open mobile platform on which the Jolla’s Sailfish OS, Sailfish OS was renamed to Aurora OS in February 2019. The further development of Aurora OS is going to be based on Sailfish OS, but it won’t be able to use Android apps, which is one of the main features of Sailfish OS. The Russian state already ordered 300 000 Aurora OS running smartphones that are going to be manufactured in China. According to some sources from Russia, China is already testing smartphones with Aurora OS, and Rostelecom also said that they are ready to work with Huawei which is now in search of a new OS for its smartphones. Apparently, Huawei refused to confirm that the company is negotiating with the owner of Aurora OS, but if they are in a negotiating with Rostelecom, that could be beneficial for Jolla too. But, the main problem for Jolla is the fact that Huawei has been developing its own OS for some time. The OS is named HongMeng, and the developing process was speeded up after the tensions with US state and US-based technology giants escalated. Since Huawei has great hardware for its own software, it would be difficult for Jolla to step in there. They would need to provide quickly a cheaper and more developed software solution for Huawei to abandon its own OS solution. This is a huge task for Jolla, but the sailors seem to be aware of the opportunity that the current situation on the technology sector created for them.

Jolla announced that they are looking for new sailors for the rather important positions of Product Management Lead, UI Developer, Middleware Developer, and Visual Designer. According to the latest faster pace of Sailfish update releases, Jolla is preparing itself for the eventual Android’s market share losses that could happen if Huawei, and potentially other Chinese OEMs, start searching for a new OS for their devices. Sailfish OS matured well, and its third version looks refreshing and well developed. The gesture-based UI and the possibility to run Android apps makes it stand out in the mass of Android and iOS running devices. I would love to see Jolla’s Sailfish OS becoming the third choice for smartphones since diversity is beneficial for all kinds of ecosystems. It would create a healthy competition that would eventually result in product diversification on the market.