Nokia was the talk of the town at MWC 2017, following its announcement of three Android phones and, of course, the rebooted Nokia 3310.
We’ve known for a good long while that the company was making a comeback in 2017 with Android. But it was only during the past several months or so that we’ve started to get actual concrete leaks about the handsets and HMD’s – Nokia’s new owners – plans for the future.
Nokia will release a proper flagship phone in August. That handset is now being referred to as the Nokia 8 (and before that the Nokia P1). This handset, unlike the MWC trio, will be a true flagship with high-end specs aimed squarely at the top of the market.
The Nokia 8 will carry Carl Zeiss optics, just like Nokia’s of old, feature a solid, robust design, an OLED QHD display and the kind of specs we’ve already seen aboard the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6.
Importantly, though, Nokia – well, HMD – seems intent on attacking the space currently dominated by OnePlus, which is the high-mid-range space (basically, sub-£450 bracket). And this is interesting because in a world where iPhones cost £1000, this type of pricing is going to become very attractive to a lot of consumers.
The other area where Nokia could excel, outstripping even Samsung and LG and every other Android partner, is with respect to updates. HMD has said it wants to work closely with Google to get updates out to handsets as soon as they’re available.
With the right pricing, stock Android, and fast updates direct from Google, it would appear than HMD wants its Nokia brand to essentially pick up where Google’s now-defunct Nexus brand left off. As someone who LOVED Google’s Nexus phones, this is a very interesting idea. Even more so if Nokia can pull it off.
The Nokia 8 is expected to be the first Nokia Android phone to truly carry on the mantle of the company’s Lumia 1020, a rather epic camera phone unlike anything else. Rumours have suggested the return of Zeiss sensors for the Nokia 8 and HMD has not yet denied this.
There has been consistent talk about a 23MP sensor aboard the Nokia 8, though we’d expect to see some other significant USPs included in the package as well, as sheer megapixels do not always translate into good imaging performance.
The Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6
None of these handsets were flagships, an odd move on HMD’s part. But perhaps there is method to this approach. BlackBerry famously switched to Android in order to save its ass a couple of years ago, but so far its ass is still very much on the line.
So what gives? I mean, BlackBerry’s Android phones are certainly compelling. They pack in plenty of unique software and are excellent from a security perspective. No one seems to care though. Not really, anyway.
BlackBerry has tried premium Android phones, cheap handsets and midrange handsets and, of course, most recently, handsets with a keyboard attached to them. But for whatever reason it simply cannot drum up the same level of hype that Nokia’s phones do.
I’d even even go as far as wagering that Nokia will sell more 3310 handsets than BlackBerry does for its new KEYone phone.
Is this because the Nokia brand is “better” than BlackBerry’s? On paper, the BlackBerry phones are better equipped and smarter, smartphones. So what gives?
The Nokia 6 sold out in six minutes in China when it first launched there a month or so ago. To date, BlackBerry hasn’t shifted a great deal of handsets which is why it is now exploring other options for producing phones like working with OEMs.
Nokia seems to be attacking the mid-range segment of the market; the section the market dominated by OnePlus, OPPO and Xiaomi. Almost as if it is testing the water before it unleashes a true flagship handset, which is expected to happen inside Q2 with the Nokia 8.
What’s perplexing for me, as a longtime mobile geek, is that one brand, BlackBerry, can basically do everything that’s expected of it and still fail, while another, Nokia, can release a few mid-range handsets and set the world – well, MWC – ablaze with gushing sentiment.
It has to be that most etheric of things – “brand”. Perhaps we all have better collective memories of Nokia versus BlackBerry? I’ve lost count of the number of friends who were forced to use BlackBerry handsets as their work phones and grew to seriously hate everything about them.
But that can’t be it. Not entirely, anyway.
It just seems odd to me that Nokia, now that it has adopted Android, appears to be on the cusp of a massive comeback, whereas BlackBerry, which has done the same thing and built some great phones in the interim, is still scrambling around for footing in the market it helped create.
I know Nokia’s success isn’t guaranteed, not by a long shot; I’m basing this piece on the hype I saw at MWC, the rate at which the Nokia 6 sold out in China when it got a release there, and the constant flow of Nokia-related searches on KYM.
I’d love to hear what your opinions are on this. Hit me up in the comments below.