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Understanding Nokia's Inevitable Return

Nokia is coming back with a range of Android-powered phones, and no, you can't have one
by Vince Sales | Jan 23, 2017
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Late last year, Nokia announced the Nokia 6, an Android-powered smartphone, and waddayaknow...the world got all hot and excited. In social media, people waxed poetic over their old Nokia phones, and dreamed of a return to form by the Finnish mobile phone maker. That’s not all. The Nokia 6 won’t be alone. Nokia promised more handsets to be released in 2017.

But wait, didn’t Microsoft buy and later kill off Nokia? WTF happened to the Lumia brand? And why will the Nokia 6 only be available in China?

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Nokia is dead. Long live Nokia.

The weird thing is, the new Nokia 6 is being made by a Finnish startup called HMD. HMD now owns the rights to the Nokia brand name. But first a history lesson:

If you’re too young—or were too distracted—to remember the days when Nokia was king, they used to rule the world with their mobile phones. They helped to ignite a worldwide mobile phone craze with the 5110. Their 3310 sold an incredible 126 million units. Heck, you probably have one, and it probably still works. That thing was indestructible.

Alas, the one-two punch of the iPhone and Android ended Nokia’s worldwide domination. In 2011, when Nokia was in need of an OS that could go toe to toe with iOS and Android, it entered into a partnership with Microsoft to make Windows Mobile-powered phones under the Lumia brand. Approximately five people bought those phones, so in 2014, Nokia stopped making phones altogether. Microsoft purchased Nokia in the same year, eventually eating up its useful parts and writing off the expense of its failed experiment (laying off 7,800 employees in the process).

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With Microsoft no longer willing to burn money on Nokia phones, the Nokia feature phone biz and the Nokia brand went up for grabs. The Nokia brand ended up coming home to Finland when HMD bought the license. HMD will be in charge of producing and marketing the new Nokia phones. They’ll be manufactured by Foxconn, the same guys who make the iPhone, you may have heard of it.


The Nokia 6: Made in China. Made for China.

Here’s what we know so far:

-The Nokia 6 will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor
-It runs Android N
-It will have a 5.5-inch, 1080x1920 screen
-There are two cameras, a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera
-It has a pretty, black aluminum body
-It will cost 1,700 yuan—around US$250 or around PHP12,500

So...the Nokia 6 sounds like a pretty standard mid-range Android phone. Arto Nummela, HMD’s CEO was quoted as saying that the new Nokia phones are being designed with ease of use in mind. No word about if it runs Snake.

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The Nokia 6 will also be exclusively for the Chinese market. Nokia (HMD) believes that China’s large market will allow them to grow more versus crowded territories in the West. That seems like a sound strategy, but it means no love for markets like the Philippines, at least not yet. Sorry, old Nokia fanatics. 

The future of Nokia (HMD)

If all this talk of Nokia’s comeback has you all in a tizzy, you’d better sit down. There’s more coming. Nokia has promised to release a statement on Feb. 26, or around the same time as Mobile World Conference in Barcelona.

If Internet leaks and rumors are to be believed—and there have been quite a few surrounding new Nokia—we’ll have six to eight phones from them by the end of 2017, covering everything from entry-level to high-end phones, but as with all rumors, take it with a grain of salt. Until Feb. 26, we’ll be waiting for the announcements with bated breath.

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