HMD Global, the company formed six months ago to be the new home of Nokia-branded smartphones, opened its doors for business Thursday and gave a first glimpse into its plans to revive the well-known moniker.
Now at the helm of Nokia’s phone business under a ten-year licensing agreement, HMD said it is planning to bring a “new generation” of mobile phones to consumers, with the first smartphones set for launch in the first half of the coming year. And it looks like HMD will aim to maintain Nokia’s reputation for durability in its new devices, among other things.
According to HMD, the new lineup of phones will be based on Google’s Android operating system and will focus on “innovation, quality, and experience, alongside Nokia mobile phone attributes of design, robustness, and reliability.” HMD President Florian Seiche noted in a statement the company will look to meet consumer demand for differentiated products and “technology with a clear purpose that is useful, exciting, and with … a dedication to quality.”
“Nokia has been one of the most iconic and recognizable phone brands globally for decades,” HMD CEO Arto Nummela said in a statement. “The excitement of re-introducing this much-loved, well-known, and trusted brand to smartphone consumers is a responsibility and an ambition that everyone at HMD shares … We see this as a brilliant opportunity to solve real life consumer problems and to deliver on the quality and designs that the Nokia brand has been always known for. Our talented and passionate team is uniquely placed in this modern setup to deliver our promise of reliable, beautifully crafted, and fun Nokia phones for consumers across the globe.”
Thanks to Nokia’s brand name recognition – which Seiche said stands at 95 percent globally – its partnership with manufacturing and technology company FIH, and its existing position in the feature phone market in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, India, and China, HMD believes it will have a “significant” head start from day one.
And it may not be wrong. CCS Insight recently predicted Nokia-branded Android smartphones will snag 5 percent of the global smartphone market share by 2019.
But, as noted by CCS Insight mobile phone researcher and analyst Ben Wood, HMD has a high standard to live up to.
“Nokia broke all records in the mobile phone market. Its products still account for the seven of the 10 best-selling phones of all time, and the company has sold a staggering 5 billion units. It created the most recognized ring tone on the planet and it pioneered many aspects of mobile phone technology,” Wood wrote in a Thursday blog post. “We believe the key to the company’s success will lie in offering products that match the original Nokia attributes of quality, ease of use, reliability and distinctive design … However, this alone will not be enough. HMD global will need to invest significant amounts of money in marketing its Nokia products and must achieve significant scale in the global smartphone market quickly if it’s to create a profitable and sustainable business.”