Jolla wraps up its first production batch, but remains fuzzy on numbers

Jolla, the Finnish smartphone upstart that’s repackaging the old MeeGo operating system into something that can rival Android(s goog) and the iPhone(s aapl), has said its first production batch has been “fully booked by consumers and selected sales channels”. For some reason, though, it won’t specify how many handsets that batch includes.
“We are not disclosing the exact number of devices pre-booked but the Jolla view is that the size of the production batch for a mobile device vendor of this size is typically 50,000 units,” a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
Jolla also claimed that it was holding back its numbers in the interests of “customer confidentiality”. This sounds silly if you only take into account pre-orders from individuals, but less so if you consider that the first batch would have been partly booked by Finnish operator DNA and, presumably, Chinese distributor D.Phone (which was announced as a partner early on but which went unnamed in today’s statement). It is quite possible that one or both of these customers are highly secretive about the volumes they buy in, and fear rivals may extrapolate sensitive information from Jolla’s generalized batch figures.
If Jolla is trying to say (in as coy a way as possible) that it’s done a run of 50,000 units or thereabouts, then that’s not actually a bad start, certainly if you compare it with the Ubuntu Edge – 5 days ago, Canonical’s nearly-over crowdfunding drive for the $695 device had seen 14,500 units pledged for. Jolla’s smartphone costs €399 ($535), so it’s cheaper, and unlike the Edge it will also get made.
Jolla said its preorders – the ones from consumers themselves, rather than partners – came in from 136 countries. The preorder limit actually got hit in mid-July, so another order from a sales channel partner probably got finalized since then, otherwise Jolla would have been trumpeting the full booking of its first production batch a month ago.
The first Jolla phone will ship by the end of this year, with Europeans getting first shot. DNA will be the first operator in the world to carry the 4.5-inch device.