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HMD Global and Nokia are back to shake up the Android market

A new company, experienced staff and long-standing tradition could bring a series of new, more powerful Android devices to the market. We spoke with Sebastian Ulrich, who is monitoring the success of the first generations of new Nokia-branded smartphones in Germany and Switzerland as Managing Director at HMD Global.

Nokia cell phones...they were the ones that you could drop in your beer or leave in the snow for four nights and they would still work. You could also drop them pretty much an unlimited number of times and they wouldn't break. “Feel free to drop the devices during your review”, suggested Sebastian Ulrich without batting an eye when he was demonstrating the new Nokia 3, 5 and 6 smartphone models.

A new company, experienced staff and long-standing tradition could bring a series of new, more powerful Android devices to the market. We spoke with Sebastian Ulrich, who is monitoring the success of the first generations of new Nokia-branded smartphones in Germany and Switzerland as Managing Director at HMD Global.

Nokia cell phones...they were the ones that you could drop in your beer or leave in the snow for four nights and they would still work. You could also drop them pretty much an unlimited number of times and they wouldn't break. “Feel free to drop the devices during your review”, suggested Sebastian Ulrich without batting an eye when he was demonstrating the new Nokia 3, 5 and 6 smartphone models.

In our conversation, I first wanted to understand how exactly the HMD and Nokia thing works: Are they two companies or one? What is Nokia the company and what is "Nokia" the brand? (Hereinafter, a cursive Nokia will always denote the brand, and a non-cursive Nokia will denote the company).



"Nokia" #Nokia

Nokia is a traditional Finnish company that has become a conglomerate over the past 150 years. As such, development of telecommunications equipment for providers and devices for end customers were added to its portfolio.

After sales of devices slumped, Microsoft bought the mobile phone division and sold Windows Phones with the trusted Nokia logo. But this business ended soon afterwards and, for a brief time, the future of Nokia phones was unclear. Now it is getting a second chance in the form of Nokia licensed devices.

The Nokia company gave Finnish start-up HMD Global (also based in Espoo in Finland) exclusive rights to the Nokia name for smartphones, cell phones and tablets. Quite a number of former Nokia managers now work for HMD Global, including Sebastian Ulrich. Together with iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, they are now relaunching the Nokia smartphone business, and this start looks highly promising.



no zeiss yet
Sebastian Ulrich is the Managing Director for Germany and Switzerland at HMD Global. / © AndroidPIT

New Nokia devices with old Nokia values

Ulrich is confident that the new Nokia smartphones will be a hit. However, he realizes that customers in many countries expect a lot from the brand. The first smartphones will fulfill these expectations, which mainly relate to solid craftsmanship and software reliability. At Nokia’s stand at the Mobile World Congress, one reporter used the display of a Nokia device to crack open a nut. When no damage was found on the smartphone afterwards, he concluded that it truly was a Nokia phone.

Although there is an automatic setup system when you insert your carrier’s SIM card, no Nokia smartphones will have carrier branding. Each Nokia smartphone by HMD Global will offer a pure Android experience, and this includes it being free, abundant in internal memory and, above all, earlier security updates. In the case of the July 2017 patch, HMD Global was quicker to release it for the Nokia 6 than Google was for the Pixel.

Opinion by Eric Ferrari-Herrmann
Pure Android is true Android
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The fact that smartphone manufacturers can win the favor of customers while omitting features is actually a sad development. Whether it’s the Bixby button on Samsung devices, the Bokeh effect on various dual cameras or the hundredth implementation of a gallery app: Many manufacturers’ proprietary developments amount to unnecessary bloatware. It is either used by only a fraction of customers or it is not technically mature yet, making it an un-feature. However, this bloatware causes delayed updates for all customers. HMD Global takes the Google path and thus acts in the interest of most customers: no bloatware, no problem.

Next step: Photography with Zeiss optics

The premium lineup of Lumia devices was especially popular for its fantastic smartphone photos. With some luck, this will be repeated with HMD Global. The new Nokia smartphone manufacturer was still able to bring out its old guns with Carl Zeiss and thus, create hope. The German manufacturer is famous for its precise lenses and supplies numerous industries with its optical and opto-electronic components. The supplier has even taken a stab in the VR sector.

zeiss vr one plus side
Zeiss not only manufactures lenses for cameras. / © ZEISS

A Nokia 9 is currently under development, or at least the rumor mill suggests so. Ulrich gleefully kept silent about it. He is now looking for feedback on the new smartphones. For HMD, it is a concerted debut of new Nokia products, and now it remains to be seen whether these hopes will be fulfilled. We were able to test the quality of devices in the review, although this alone will not predict the actual sales success of these devices.

Is robust craftsmanship, early updates thanks to pure Android, and aggressive pricing actually the secret recipe for market success, or is there more to it? And can Nokia flourish as a brand again after so many years, or has this ship been lacking wind in its sails for too long already? We can only watch with excitement.

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  • I like the Donald Trump reference. Great article!


  • Well i have to admit, the specs on the Nokia 8(9?) have DEFINITELY gotten my attention, so much so that i'm ready and willing to ditch the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (SD) i bought just this year, but the sudden departure of Arto Nummela bothers me.......
    I'm worried that HMD is going to end up like LeEco, Jide and many other white hot startups that just die off completely after a short run and leave all their supporters in the lurch with no incoming updates and support, just decent hardware.
    I think I'll wait a bit, see what's on the horizon, if all remains calm, they've got my money........


    • yea I've got high expectations of the New Nokia..
      they started in China of all places, at the cheaper end of a very competitive market,
      and sold millions.. so most (hopefully) definitely here to stay..
      I'm really looking forward to owning a new Nokia maybe next year's 2nd gen flagship.


  • NOKIA IS BACK. BABY. 2017📅


  • Got very excited when I heard Nokia was on its way back,but still no Nokia phone released in Europe, that shows that Nokia are going to compete with the likes of Samsung or other android phone makers,Microsoft did the same with Nokia,we got nice phones released but the software couldn't match the Nokia name HMD better get things sorted out quick or there sales targets will not meet the requirements, we saw the Nokia 8 rumours the other day,but it's not been offered a announcement date yet,was so loyal to Nokia in there Symbian era,and just want to use one of there top android camera phones,which people know they always used Top cameras on there best phones,come on HMD get the Nokia phones competing


  • Mark
    • Admin
    2 months ago Link to comment

    I am so glad Nokia is making a come back. I hope they will get back to their roots and make some really great phones. Just hope they do not forget about the power user, and make some models with a removable battery.

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