Interview: How HMD Global wants to play the smartphone game
HMD Global has expanded the Nokia family at the IFA 2019. Two new smartphones and two new interesting feature phones revealed a lot about the brand's strategy and what we can expect in the coming months.
Modern design and guaranteed updates
During the IFA I had the opportunity to have a chat with Alberto Matrone, Vice President Eastern Europe of HMD Global. The launch of Nokia 6.2 and Nokia 7.2 shows what the Finnish company continues to focus on: modern design and attention to detail and guaranteed updates to keep devices fresh and give users the ability to decide when to replace their device.
The creation of the product, from the finishing to the colors, is what HMD Global is investing in, the market is highly competitive but HMD Global wants to play its game
Nokia 6.2 and Nokia 7.2 offer really nice design and in the hand are nice. The Nokia 6.2 brings with it the whole history of Nokia coming as the successor to the Nokia 6, the smartphone that marked the return of Nokia and the arrival of HMD Global. The Nokia 7.2 can be seen as the device that offers some more technological gems (Zeiss optics, a PureView display, Gorilla Glass on the front and back) at an affordable price. As Alberto Matrone pointed out during the interview, technology continues to develop and HMD Global wants to keep up with it.
Both smartphones run Android 9 Pie but the brand wants to continue its commitment with updates. Android One is on board and in plain sight on the body: it is important to ensure that consumers are up-to-date and therefore safe with long-lasting devices. It's a message that is not so easy to get through to consumers, but it is an important one. Few brands use this as a marketing strategy, often going for features instead, but HMD is backing it.
Nokia: whether it's a smartphone or a feature phone
And then there is the Nokia 2720 Flip and the Nokia 800 Tough, which no longer only play the nostalgia card but also focus on a market that should not be underestimated and on specific needs. The first goes in the direction of an audience later in life, thanks to its big keys, the second to those who work in particular contexts, such as in the world of construction, as well as to those who love outdoor sports and need a really durable device, able to survive contact with water.
HMD Global wants to reach the market with all product ranges, from entry-level to high-end
In the world of feature phones, HMD Global feels strong compared to the competition and the Nokia name helps in this respect. Who doesn't associate the name Nokia with strong, almost indestructible bricks? HMD Global sees feature phones as the soul of the company: they help from the point of view of visibility but also from the point of view of revenue.
If you buy a feature phone, you won't necessarily switch to a smartphone, but the name Nokia on such a device creates a link with users who might consider buying a completely different device but sticking to the same family.
Unions create strength
As Alberto Matrone pointed out, HMD Global relies on several partners to be able to offer the best to its users. HMD Global works with Zeiss for the camera on its smartphones, Google on the software side, Qualcomm with regards to the chips integrated into the phones and Foxconn for the production of the devices.
And so it is, with an enlarged team, HMD Global focuses on innovation whose fulcrum is, according to Alberto Matrone, 5G. "It is not enough to come on the market with a new 5G product, but we must first understand what content is to be offered on a device of this type", he believes he show consumers the benefits that can be drawn from this technology and these devices by looking at what 4G already manages to offer.
HMD Global is the only European brand currently in the game
A 5G smartphone is already scheduled at HMD Global, and will soon arrive at an affordable price. It will be a smartphone that users can take with them for a long time, thanks to the guaranteed updates, the price reduced compared to the competition and the resistance of the product.
HMD Global has clear ideas and tries to carry on its strategy aware of the tough competition and its own budget, that of a startup and therefore more limited than big names like Samsung and Huawei. So we can't expect the arrival of a folding smartphone in the near future, it would not be part of the brand's strategy.
What do you think about the work that HMD Global is doing with the Nokia brand?