Nokia’s return to the smart phone market this year: the success and failure co-exist

According to “Fortune” Beijing time on December 2 reported that a year ago, HMD Global won the right to use the Nokia brand to produce and sell smartphones.

Nokia’s return to the smart phone market this year: the success and failure co-exist

诺基亚回归智能手机市场这一年:成功与失误并存▲ Figure: Nokia brand

In the first year into the handset market, HMD Global has made significant business progress. It won the most respected brand name in the mobile phone industry, released 6 Android smartphones, but also many mistakes.

In an interview with Bloomberg in December last year, Arto Nummela, former chief executive of HMD Global, said the company “will be loyal to the Nokia brand.” Did HMD Global honor its promise? This article will analyze HMD Global’s successes and mistakes over the year.


In user-friendliness, HMD Global is loyal to the Nokia brand. It took a wise move: do not add gimmicks in the software, insist on using the native version of Andrews software. As a result, Nokia branded handsets became one of the few handsets running native Android software.

Running native Android smartphone has many advantages, favored by the user. Nokia branded smartphones are one of the first handsets to receive major operating system upgrade packs, providing a simple, fast and user-friendly interface that does not come loaded with a large number of applications (expansions) – most users never use them.

HMD Global also promises that all smartphones will be upgraded to Android Oreo and release monthly security updates.

Nokia’s return to the smart phone market this year: the success and failure co-exist

诺基亚回归智能手机市场这一年:成功与失误并存▲ Figure: Nokia 3310 mobile phone

Release Nokia 3310 is also a wise move. The phone’s configuration, features and design are not to be taken lightly, though they are a “dumb” handset that is only suitable for making calls, texting and playing “Snake” games. But it is a marketing gold mine.

The Nokia 3310 was once one of the best phones of its time, leaving many memories for many. Republishing the Nokia 3310 is a natural clue, giving the Nokia brand renewed attention, gaining exposure in the media of all sizes, across the world.

The revival of Nokia 3310 has also aroused the interest of consumers and helped other HMD Global smartphones to enter the markets of many countries in a short time. Although it opened a year, HMD Global handsets have entered China, India, the United States and most of the European market.

HMD Global is also heavily invested in the marketing of European size markets and has entered into cooperation agreements with several mobile operators in Europe, which many Chinese smart phone manufacturers have been trying for many years but could not.

Most people will choose a contract machine when buying a cell phone, so cooperation with a mobile operator is very important. This makes the Nokia brand smart phones to enter more consumer choice, the impact on sales is very large.

Nokia’s return to the smart phone market this year: the success and failure co-exist

诺基亚回归智能手机市场这一年:成功与失误并存▲ Figure: Nokia 6

High-end mobile phone product coverage is also a low HMD Global’s wise move. In addition to the aforementioned Nokia 3310, HMD Global’s smartphone products include the affordable Nokia 2 and 3, mid-range devices Nokia 5, 6 and 7 and Nokia’s flagship model 8, with different price points for consumers to choose from. HMD Global handsets are of very high quality – synonymous with the Nokia brand.

There are several middle and low-end models in the product line or a good way to attract the interest of consumers in developing countries. The purchasing power of users in developing countries is lower than that of western developed countries. Offering affordable brand models that make HMD Global a viable mobile phone maker in the developing world can easily be made.


One of the biggest mistakes in HMD Global so far is the conservative design. HMD Global smart phone is not high enough, not charming enough. They look old fashioned, especially when compared to the Galaxy S8, LG V30 and Glory 9 models.

Nokia branded smartphones – even the Nokia 8 as the flagship model – lack one or two features that make them stand out. For example, Galaxy S8’s full screen surface, Note8’s S Pen stylus, plus a 5T flash charge, the modular design of Moto Z2 Force, HTC U11 Edge Sense.

Nokia’s return to the smart phone market this year: the success and failure co-exist

诺基亚回归智能手机市场这一年:成功与失误并存▲ Figure: Nokia 8 silver, blue two color

HMD Global is also trying to make high-end Nokia branded phones stand out by configuring Carl Zeiss lenses. It also highlights the “Bothie” feature – allowing users to take pictures and shoot video simultaneously with front and rear cameras. However, these are not enough to become a unique selling point, quickly make Nokia brand smart phones popped in consumers.

The truth is that Nokia smartphones are just “niche names,” and HMD Global wants it to be attractive enough to attract users’ money and money. HMD Global’s goal is to make money with the Nokia brand, so far its plan is successful. No Nokia brand, no one will focus on HMD Global’s smart phone.

This situation will not continue forever. HMD Global must begin to innovate and take risks, otherwise the Nokia brand will lose its appeal, just as Nokia several years ago refused to use Android software alliance with Microsoft. It may not be a risk to produce a generic Android phone, but it is not a long-term strategy.

Not dedicated to developing the US market – one of the most significant markets for smart phone makers is a big mistake HMD Global has made. HMD Global did launch the Nokia 6 in the United States, followed by the cheap Nokia Nokia 2 in the near future, but did not intend to launch the flagship Nokia 8. This is definitely a big mistake, because the high-end market can bring huge profits. Flagship models can also make smartphones more media exposure, let people relish.

When it comes to flagship models, Nokia still lacks a model comparable to the Galaxy Note8, LG V30, a plus 5T and so on. Nokia 8 may have a first-class configuration, but for a flagship model, the 5.3-inch screen a bit too small, not to mention there is a wide border. If you really want to participate in the smart phone market competition, HMD Global needs a real Nokia brand flagship model.

Nokia’s return to the smart phone market this year: the success and failure co-exist

诺基亚回归智能手机市场这一年:成功与失误并存▲ Figure: Nokia 8

HMD Global needed a high-value handset with the latest hardware in a borderless design with a 18: 9 aspect ratio and a 5.8 to 6.2 inch screen size. If HMD Global really wants to be famous in the smartphone market, it needs to roll out one such product as soon as possible. Without such a product, the halo of the Nokia brand may start to fade away, making it harder for HMD Global to get consumers back.

Is HMD Global loyal to the Nokia brand?

The answer to this question is both positive and negative. HMD Global’s smartphones “stick to the bottom line,” work well and provide pure Android experience, but they are not enough. Over the years, I have used a number of Nokia phones, each one of them gives the feeling of being ahead of competitors. They look beautiful and have the power to make them stand out. The new Nokia brand smartphone, did not give this feeling.

This does not matter for mid- to low-end phones, but in the high-end handset market it is very important that potential handlers for flagship smartphone seldom buy handsets with impulse in the short term and that they know everything about the possibilities. Nokia’s brand is not enough for HMD Global to attract the attention of heavy users, it needs the help of other elements.

The situation may change. HMD Global is obviously still developing more products, one of which is Nokia 9. There are rumors that Nokia 9 will be equipped with 5.5-inch curved QHD screen, with a borderless design, first-class configuration. In theory, it is a better competitor to the Galaxy S8, LG G6 and other handsets than the Nokia 8. However, when Nokia 9 is released, a new generation of flagship models from other vendors will also be available, so HMD Global may still be behind other competitors.

Nokia’s return to the smart phone market this year: the success and failure co-exist

诺基亚回归智能手机市场这一年:成功与失误并存▲ Figure: Nokia 9 phone renderings

HMD Global did make some mistakes in its first year in the smartphone industry, but it has also achieved many successes. In the past 12 months, HMD Global has received a lot of attention, but if you want Nokia to reproduce the past glory, it needs to go one step further in 2018.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here