Nokia’s Comeback Rests On Three Pillars: HMD, Google And Android

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Nokia was the trusted brand of most smartphone users some years ago. The Finnish firm has witnessed some very turbulent times in the past ten years, but that has not deterred its ambitions of making a comeback. Now, with HMD Global, the Finnish brand is set to make a comeback by offering Android phones, with a little help from Google.

How HMD plans to revive the Nokia brand

HMD executives explained to Gulf News how they plan to offer the Android phones that fans have long been waiting for. Per Ekman, HMD Global’s vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, promised that the new handsets will retain all the brand qualities that the buyers loved in Nokia products.

Explaining how their new strategic partnership with Google will help the brand make a comeback, Ekman said a majority of the smartphones on the market do not offer the Android OS in its real form, as vendors add a “skin on top of the OS.” But they will be giving consumers the latest version and the patches as soon as Google issues them.

“We and Google will jointly enhance the Nokia brand to put the right kind of inputs into the phone, including Google Assistant,” Ekman said.

How offering pure Android helps Nokia and Google

Offering the latest and purest Android version will give Nokia phones an edge over rivals, as currently only a small fraction of Android phones run on the latest version of the OS (Android Nougat 7.1 is available on less than 1% devices), notes PhoneArena.

It sounds good, but offering a pure Android experience is something that even Google is not doing anymore. Last year, the search giant announced that it is planning to offer a more customized OS for its Android phones, notes BGR. And the Pixel handset that came after that was a good example of it. It included some features that were not available on the older Nexus models.

However, working with a popular brand which is still adored by millions around the globe could help Google as well, especially at a time when its biggest Android partner is on an anti-Android drive. Samsung’s Bixby is a potential threat to Google Assistant and to Google in the long run. Thus, working with Nokia and HMD could work well for Android’s future.

So far, so good

So far, HMD has received encouraging responses from buyers. According to Ekman, more than 1 million units of the Nokia 6 were sold in pre-registration within 23 seconds of the announcement. The phone was launched in January in China, which, according to Ekman, is the “toughest market.”

Analysts are also bullish on Nokia’s prospects. Clement Teo, principal analyst at Ovum, believes the Finnish brand will make a place for itself in the crowded mid-tier segment.

In an email to ZDNet, Teo said, “Producing a well-designed mid-market smartphone will allow them to be a strong alternative to the likes of other mid-market smartphone players like Huawei, Oppo, Samsung, and Xiaomi.”

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