Idea: Jolla offering a paid service to flash Sony and Volla phones with SFOS

Hey,

i wanted to share the idea of Jolla offering a paid flashing service for Sony and Volla phones with SFOS. In the beginning of the Xperia X program, Jolla offered the possibility to wether install SFOS on a Jolla event, or to send in the device to the Jolla Headquarter to be flashed by a Jolla employee. At the time this was done, by sending in the device with a returnlabel for sending it back later on. It was seen as a free service more then a paid service. I know by offering that kind of service, Jolla could run into problems. Warranty issues, if a device breaks during the flashing, warranty service for the installation of the system. But seen on the many smartphone users being interested in trying out SFOS, but wether not being able, or not being interested in flashing a device. This would be the ultimate way to spread the system to a wider user base. It reminds me of the beginning of Ubuntu, where Canonical would ship hundreds of CDs you would spread under your friends and therefore spread the system in total. Okay, Ubuntu has a manageable size of marketshare, but they came from nothing to the most known and installed Linux distribution. Somebody willing to pay 50 € for SFOS image would also be willing to pay additional 10 € for the flashing service. The 10 € would probably just cover the costs, but nevertheless be a win win situation for Jolla and the SFOS users. What are other users thinking of that idea and possibility!? Greetings :slight_smile:

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€10 wouldn’t even get close to covering (ensured) shipping back and forth. I think the number of people willing to pay basically the cost of another license is very slim.

Edit: and i think your comparison to shipping CDs is a bit flawed. That is basically what they are doing. The install procedure isn’t really harder than installing e.g. Ubuntu.

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@Attah you are right, the comparison is a bit flawed. But remembering how i discovered Ubuntu, the only thing i had to do, was inserting the CD and starting the installation process. I am a quite experienced computer user, using a PC since the age of 9 years. But i had a hard time first open the bootloader of my Xperia X to then do the quite easy installation of SFOS. If i hadn’t installed a Ubuntu dual boot on my laptop, i wouldn’t have reached the installation of SFOS and wouldn’t be a SFOS user since 2017. I think this probably shows the problematic of many interested but maybe technically not that skilled users. I hope my point is understandable :slight_smile:

Yes, the process could be made smoother. And they could throw in a GUI, just for comfort of newbie users, if nothing else. However, a flashing service is probably not an option. With recent fastboot problems, shipping it for non-winderp platforms too could have helped (but they got it sorted robustly without doing that).

I think it would be better to look at something like UBports Installer, or Android Flash Tool (WebUSB in Chrome, horror of horrors). Presumably these could (be extended to) do check that fastboot is functional, and help run the unlock command etc.

Personally, i plan on trying to offer flashing help with a correctly set up computer at the local hackerspace. But that will have to wait another couple of months.

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As is, I doubt a flashing service by Jolla would be feasible. Between tracking an incoming device, than flashing it from an unknown state, then sending it back. That would take quite some time from Jolla’s engineers.
Something that IMHO could be a little simpler for them could be if they get a batch of supported devices, flash them with SFOS and make them available, either directly from Jolla or, if e.g. legally they cannot directly sell devices, they could make some agreement with a local phone shop as the sending (and selling) entity. But still I’m afraid it would be from business point of view quite a hassle to handle.

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The Sailfish installation was intentionally not simplified any further, according to an interview with the Jolla CEO in a german tech blog. The installation process should keep off unexperienced users. I assume they are afraid of much support requests and bad publicity if people pay without understanding that Sailfish OS is not Android, and that some Android Apps can be problematic to run therefore.
Source: https://www.golem.de/news/sailfish-x-im-test-die-android-alternative-mit-ein-bisschen-android-1903-139983.html

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@Firefox84 you can buy already flashed devices from https://jolla-devices.com/

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What would be the difference to the situation now? We have many year long users waiting for new features and then leaving after a certain time because the features are not coming or waiting for years. The more users will come, the more complaints you would have. But it would move in a certain direction. For the moment we stand still…

Could you elaborate what you mean by standing still? Yes, there are enough parts that haven’t been touched but there are so many issues that need addressing and only limited resources to tackle them.
But it does not appear to me like Jolla would be doing nothing at all.

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@unmaintained sorry i think i used the wrong wording. There are great supporters of SFOS like you, @Coderus and many others. And theses days we see a lot of fixes and updates from the side of Jolla, but at the same time, there are minor bugs and problems being open since 2013. With standing still i meant in the meaning of users and marketshare. Nobody knows how much SFOS users there are only rough estimates through downloads and website statiscs. With people wanting to try SFOS but not being able to buy a device or not being able to flash it, we are in the chicken egg problem. Jolla can bring out SFOS versions for new phones, what might attract new users, but other not fixed issues might holding them away. Me for my part i will not buy a new device until it breaks or becomes fully unusable, also then i would have the opportunity to install Ubports and use my phone further on. So it should be in the interest of Jolla to keep such people like me and many others. Sorry but why that amount of work to port back programs to a level where they are not supported anymore, while offering the new users with a newer kernel base with more up to date fixes. I might not see the whole picture. But if you want to provide everybody with the same OS version why creating that much different bases that all have to be maintained. Having one base that runs on most of the hardware would make more sense. And this would be the case from Xperia X to the newest devices. This would make much more sense in my opinion, but i am just a little Xperia X user, so let see what the future brings for my kind of users :slight_smile: To all SFOS supporters, thanks for your hard work!

Noobs can go to nearest cell phone service and flash the device. Sending phone thru whole Europe?

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Good idea! The first time when we had to flash James Noori did it for me. The procedure was as you describe, yet he didn’t want any payment. The second time I flashed with the guidance of someone else and the third time I did it myself. I know that flashing is a burden to many potential Sailfish users. They just don’t want to do it because Google and Apple sell ready made OS-es and not everyone is tech savvy.

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@atlochowski. I know, i bought a Aigo Tablet in his shop longer ago. But its a guy flashing the devices on his own, He is a nice guy and really trustworthy and everything, but its not the same as if a company would do that…

Maybe we could have Sailfish User Groups that would help flashers (sic).

Nice idea @rhampf! :slight_smile: But i think thats part of the problem. The “mainstream” Sailfish user wouldn’t go deep into a forum, to get help by other users instead of getting official support of the company where he bought his product. That might work for really tech interested people, but many will give up on that way. And this should be avoided. People willing to join the Sailfish ship, should be able to do this quite easily, maybe as @Attah suggested, with an App or Flashing tool :slight_smile:

Oh thats a bit of a weird statement if you ask me. Shouldn’t, at some point, all measures be taken in order to bring SFOS to wider audiences? If I get it right, SFOS is now 8 years old, what to wait for?

It’s clear that Jolla is only a small company, and they cannot probably invest into the same efforts as the big tech companies, but whats the strategies here? Whats the future plan? When it currently seems to rather be “Ah lets hide it from people for now, until …?” Until what?

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My guess: Surviving by focusing on their core market (corporate & government) instead of wasting resources on individual customers who are largely scared by freedom anyway and want the convenience and protection of Android and iOS walled gardens.

Yes, there is some demand from individual customers (as this forum shows) but I assume it’s simply not enough to warrant diverting any more resources into it.

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That sounds rather disappointing and sad.

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Well, maybe we should be thankful they’re shifted their focus and found a niche market or there would be no Sailfish OS today, after all the previous attempts to sell to individual customers failed to keep them afloat.

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If things like flashing phones would be a financially viable proposition I assume someone on this forum would already have started a company offering said services.

I don’t want to offend anyone but it seems to be rather easy to come up with ideas without having to risk one’s own money to follow through on them.

Does not mean it’s not worth discussing such ideas, though. :slight_smile:

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