It would be a big mistake to underestimate the power of the new Nokia. The well-known brand, accompanied by HMD Global, made a discreet comeback last year and has already made great strides. In 2018, it looks like a resurgent Nokia is ready to show its teeth and make an aggressive bid to capture the market. But how?
Nokia 8 Sirocco elegantly represents the upper range but....
Just look at the Nokia 8 Sirocco to see how the manufacturer wants to offer users what they can. A really elegant design, well made, beautiful to see and characterized by a display with curved edges reminiscent of the S7 Edge. In addition to design, there are two elements on which the brand has focused: the camera, created in collaboration with Zeiss, and the pure software experience thanks to Android One.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco is a flagship ready to compete with the big hitters already on the market. No, you won't find the Snapdragon 845 inside. Instead we have the 835. Alberto Colombo, General Manager of HMD Global for Italy, explained to me that the manufacturer preferred to go safe and offer its users a high-performance and reliable chip, already present on many devices on the market.
.... the market isn't all about top-of-the-range products
This is demonstrated by HMD Global, which ranks 11th in the list of smartphone manufacturers per unit sold. The data released by Counterpoint show that the Finnish company sent a total of 21.1 million devices in the last quarter of 2017 (4.4 million smartphones, 20.7 million feature phones) thus surpassing brands such as HTC, Sony, Alcatel, Lenovo, Asus, Google and Meizu. Samsung, Apple and Huawei manage to do better but don't underestimate the results achieved by HMD Global.
Talking about smartphones performance, in Q4 2017, @HMDGlobal sold more Nokia branded phones globally and is now bigger smartphone brand than following individual brands:— Neil Shah (@neiltwitz) 12 February 2018
Beyond the numbers, the Nokia phoenix has risen from the ashes in a rather short period and in 2018 is ready to follow through on the promise shown in 2017.
Face recognition will reach some of Nokia's devices in the coming months
As you can see, HMD performed best in sales of feature phones and not smartphones. With Nokia 6, Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 1 announced at MWC 2018, HMD Global presents a catalog of devices for different users and needs.
A user-centered strategy
The priority is users and their needs. Software-level support is an important aspect and HMD Global has so far shown us how the promises made so far are being taken seriously: the Nokia 8 runsAndroid 8.1 Oreo (and only Google Pixels currently run this version of the software) and the Nokia 8 Sirocco, 6 and 7 Plus are part of the Android One program that will be extended to new arrivals.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco tries to offer the best also on the hardware side but the brand doesn't neglect modern trends. Alberto Colombo has in fact revealed that in the following months Nokia users will be offered the possibility of using facial recognition. At the moment it is not clear which devices will benefit from this feature and when, but HMD Global is working up there to keep pace with the trends.
Nostalgia works, but it's not the only trick up Nokia's sleeve
Nokia is a name familiar to many, and it's easy to feel affection for this brand that, over the years, has offered us durable, long-lasting devices which were trend-setters in their day. We were talking about mobile phones and not yet smartphones and with the arrival of the latter and some unfortunate managerial decisions, the Finnish company lost its glamour.
The original family could expand in 2019 with a new remake
But since 2016, Nokia has been back in the limelight under the wing of HMD Global. Last year it played the nostalgia card with the revival of the Nokia 3310. The plucky little phone continues to be appreciated today and now has a kind of successor. I'm talking about the Nokia 8110 4G, even if calling it a successor is not correct because the new remake offers a bit more in terms of technology.
The new original Nokia 8110 4G model fully reflects the design of the original model (the banana body) and in addition to the yellow color, it becomes smarter.
Of course, it can't be defined a smartphone and is more like a secondary device (or a primary device for those who don't care much for smartphones). And if you are worried about the absence of WhatsApp, there is still some hope: "this product will have the best apps", according to Alberto Colombo, and there are still more than two months left before it arrives on the market....
And if you've enjoyed the two remakes made by HMD Global in 2017 and 2018, get ready because a new member of the original family could arrive in 2019.
A winning recipe for HMD Global
Software support, well made devices at affordable prices, promises made and the attempt to offer users the latest technologies. The popularity that Nokia has built up in the past also plays its role and helps HMD Global not only to place its originals but also new devices such as the Nokia 8 Sirocco
Artificial intelligence and voice assistants? It is not easy to combine hardware and software in a suitable way, besides doing adequate research on what are the real needs and uses of users, according to Alberto Colombo. It's Google that now has the greatest control of the situation with Assistant but HMD Global continues to look around and will not neglect any collaborations with new and old partners.
Personally, I think the manufacturer is doing a very good job and if it continues on this path, optimizing some components (such as the camera), HMD will not have any problem in taking on the other big competitors already on the market.
What do you think about HMD Global and the new Nokia devices?