On 1 December 2016, Nokia, once synonymous with mobile phones, announced its re-birth in the home of HMD Global – a Finnish company – after almost a deathly coma of 5 years. Since then, the mobile phone company has traveled a long path, mostly a difficult one, riddled with cut-throat competition and ever changing technologies corresponding to ever increasing consumer demands.
The technological craftsmanship of Nokia and its expertise in making mobile phones coupled with the agile and future-looking management of HMD Global, in this short span of just one year, has, however, proved Nokia is not destined to die till it has served the last customer in the earth.
While the phoenix celebrated its 1st birthday recently, we counted the 12 big baby steps the company has taken during this 12 months.
1st December 2016 – Re-entry of Nokia
Nokia announced its re-entry to mobile phone business on this day. HMD Global Oy (HMD), a Finnish company, has got the license to manage, manufacture and distribute the Nokia phones. It has got the license for next 10 years and the license included sale and distribution of its phones as well as tablets.
The strategy was very clear for HMD from the day one – the next generation phones would be based on the most popular user platform – Google Android; and the phones will be manufactured by world’s largest electronics manufacturing company – Foxconn.
“Driven by the extremely positive reception we have received since HMD was announced earlier this year, we are excited about building the next chapter for Nokia phones. 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,” HMD Global’s then CEO Arto Nummela had said.
The company has certainly wrote many new chapters since.
December 2016 – Launch of Nokia 150
Within two weeks of its re-entry to the mobile phone business, HMD Global launched the first series of Nokia feature phones – Nokia 150. The phone was also launched its dual SIM version.
The Nokia 150 had come all the essential features of a mobile phone plus some more. Weighing a little over 80 gram, the phone came with VGA camera with LED flash, storage provision up to 32 GB, torch light, FM radio, the popular Snake game and with a 1020 mAh battery.
The phone was priced $26 or around Rs 1800 in Indian currency.
January 2017 – Nokia 6 Launched
Couple of feature phones later and a month after its rebirth, HMD Global was ready with its first Android based smartphone – the Nokia 6. The phone was first launched in China and was made available only through JD.com. Later the phone was also launched in other parts of the world including India.
Nokia 6 was an ambitious launch. No other smartphone company had launched its first smartphone model with 4GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage space. The Finnish major did that when the industry standard was 3GB RAM with varied internal storage provisions like 32 GB and 64 GB.
The 5.5 inch smartphone also came with Android Nougat, then the latest OS, and incorporated Dolby Atmos sound system – a premium in its category. The smartphone also featured 16 MP PDAF rear camera and 8 megapixel front camera. The aluminium unibody looked classy and elite.
February 2017 – Nokia 3310 Relaunched
Nokia 3310, probably the most recognizable, if not the most popular phones, was again launched by HMD Global at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Boasting 22 hour talk time and standby time of more than a month, the Nokia 3310 was made available in four colors – Red, Yellow, Dark Blue and Grey. The phone was priced 49 Euros.
In the same event, at MWC 2017, the company also launched 2 more smartphones – Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and also announced the global availability of Nokia 6.
February 2017 – Snake Game Relaunched
It would be unbelievable if someone says he has not played the Snake game ever – probably the most popular game on a mobile phone. The game was relaunched in Nokia phones and also was made available to play on Facebook Instant Games.
“The Snake game was the most popular game in the history of Nokia phones, in fact the true origin of mobile gaming can be traced back to a Nokia handset released in 1997,” HMD Global’s CMO Pekka Rantala had said then.
July 2017 – HMD Partners Zeiss
Cameras becoming the differentiators in smartphones, manufacturers these days are in a tight spot to find and partner with the best in the industry. HMD Global, however, did not find it difficult to find a right kind partner and joined hands with precision optics firm Zeiss. And the firms signed an exclusive agreement to support each other in developing the new optics technologies.
After partnering with Google and Foxconn, this was HMD’s third best partnership in its strategic direction.
July 2017 – Nokia 105 and 130 Launched
HMD added two more phones to its feature phone category – Nokia 105 and Nokia 130, while the former has been one of the best selling phones of the Finnish firm before embraced HMD. It had already sold more than 200 million 105s before the relaunch. Similarly, the Nokia 130 was designed for customers who need bit more than just a feature phone. The phone comes with a long lasting battery and 1.8 inch color screen and offers 44 hours of FM radio playback.
Both the phones come in single as well as dual SIM variants and priced between $14.5 to $21.5.
July 2017 – HMD CEO Arto Nummela Quits
Barely few days after the company’s global partnership with Zeiss, HMD Global’s CEO Arto Nummela decided to quit the company. What was tragic is the decision, it appears, was taken in a jiffy and the his departure from the company was made effective immediately.
Nummela was the man behind formation of HMD and he had played a key role in getting the Nokia license.
August 2017 – Nokia 8 Launched
HMD launched its latest smartphone Nokia 8 after almost a gap of 6 months. However, as they say patience pays, the device was worth the wait.
Nokia 8 came with many firsts. It was the first smartphone to be launched after its iconic CEO quit the company. Besides, this is first phone that came with Zeiss optics and coined a new term to selfies ‘Bothie’. What it essentially means is, the dual camera of the smartphone enables the user to capture both side of the story at the same time. In selfie, you take your own photo, in bothie, while taking your own photo, you can capture what the other person is doing at the same time. It was a good addition to the mundane camera tricks – like beautify and other filters.
In this new smartphone, the company introduced 360 audio. Featuring OZO Audio, the smartphone combines three microphones with exclusive Nokia acoustic algorithms to capture audio with immersive 360° spatial surround sound.
October 2017 – Nokia 7 Launched
While we do not understand the naming structure and logic behind the various models launched by HMD, the company launched the Nokia 7, 2 months after it launched Nokia 8. The phone was launched in China.
The 5.2 inch LTE smartphone comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 mobile platform with 4GB RAM as well as 6GB RAM versions. The phone has got 16 MP primary camera and 5 MP front camera. Running on Android Nougat, the phone comes with a 3000 mAh battery.
October 2017- Florian Seiche Becomes HMD CEO
The board of directors appointed Florian Seiche as the next CEO. The post was vacant since Nummela quit the firm in July the same year. Florian, who has been serving as President of the company since its inception, has also been inducted in to the HMD Global Board. Along with him, company’s CMO Pekka Rantala has also been elevated as executive Vice President.
October 2017 – Nokia 2 Launched
HMD’s last smartphone of the year (most probably) the Nokia 2 was launched in India as a global launch. The entire top deck of the firm was present in India to announce the smartphone model that claimed to offer 2 days of battery back up with a single charge.
The 5 inch smartphone came with Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and is meant to be a mass market smartphone. It comes with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB internal storage space, 8 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera and comes with 4100 mAh battery.
In the last 12 months, HMD Global has launched 6 smartphones and five feature phones and entered in to 80 markets. While we believe the company has great future as it commands an awareness of more than 95% of the global population, at the same time we sincerely hope the company does not repeat its mistakes – of not understanding customer needs and miss the pulse of the industry.