Future Nokia phones won't be about specs, will bet on what made Nokia great in the first place

Future Nokia phones won't be about specs, will bet on what made Nokia great in the first place

With the imminent return of the Nokia name to the mobile market, a great many people are understandably getting excited at the prospect of a lineup of Android smartphones that embodies all the qualities that once made Nokia products great — tough builds, great battery life, capable software, and top-notch cameras to name but a few — and backing it all up with cutting-edge hardware and the latest and greatest from everybody's favorite open-sourceGoogle's hugely popular mobile OS. That sounds absolutely great, don't get us wrong, and if all the recent interviews with HMD's CEO Arto Nummela serve as any indication, the Finnish startup is well aware of what made the Nokia name synonymous with quality in the past, but it's time to be realistic for a moment.

Big names come heavy with the burden of legacy, and Nokia's legacy is not one to easily live up to. Expectations are mounting amidst the rosy retrospection — memories of stalwart devices you could “use to defend yourself" with and other such exaggerated half-truths heavily distorted through the prism of nostalgia — and it may be to the detriment of future smartphones bearing the Nokia name. 

Nokia has a chance to adapt to the current market landscape and reinvent itself. Can the fans come to terms with the many changes this entails?


The issue when it comes to Nokia is that its name was deeply ingrained in pop culture as a synonym for quality long before the advent of the modern smartphone. Its “Microsoft phase” was dismissed by the masses as a misstep, and most Nokia fans decided to hold on to fond memories of deprecated technology while waiting for Nokia to miraculously reinvent itself and become great again.


Mr. Nummela is a Nokia veteran who joined the legendary phone maker back in 1994, and we know his heart is in the right place with this new undertaking. He has promised numerous times that HMD will remain “extremely true” to the Nokia brand, and we are not as worried about him keeping this promise, as we are about nostalgic Nokia fans skewing his words. Close to nothing is known about next year's HMD Android phones, safe for speculation regarding supposedly mid-range devices via dubious benchmarks, but Nokia smartphones of the future may not be as cutting edge, hardware-wise that is, as many fans may be hoping.

The Nokia name is kept afloat in the collective consciousness of fans primarily by rosy retrospection and nostalgia-fueled hope

The Nokia name is kept afloat in the collective consciousness of fans primarily by rosy retrospection and nostalgia-fueled hope


A recent Economic Times interview with Nummela provides another interesting insight into HMD's vision for the future of the Nokia brand. It suggests that the company won't be chasing those extra couple of gigabytes of RAM it can throw in to one-up its competitors, or that extra little bit of processing power to flaunt in promos. If you ask us, this is an admirable and level-headed approach to things for a brand new company that carries a legendary name and it may very well work out just fine, provided the hardware is capable enough and the software is well optimized, but it's still disconcerting to a degree. In the world of Android, smoothness is often (and rightfully so) associated with higher specs, unless it is close-to-stock and aggressively optimized which isn't the case on many devices. Now, this ties us into another discussion entirely, one that is ongoing here, so we won't be focusing on the software side of things. Instead, let's see what Nummela has to say about the hardware of future Nokia-branded phones:



Although Nokia's future in India was one of the main topics of Nummela's interview with the Economic Times, it wouldn't be too far-fetched to assume that this quote may very well reflect his company's global vision for the brand. In the same interview, HMD's president Florian Seiche elaborates further on this subject, his statement squarely in line with previous promises regarding the future of Nokia:



Most of us remeber this legend with the utmost fondness but can HMD take most of what made it great and rework it for the smartphone landscape of 2017? Most of the perks of this plastic colossus that is the 3310, like its fabled durability and seemingly eternal battery life, stem directly from its barebones natur

Most of us remeber this legend with the utmost fondness but can HMD take most of what made it great and rework it for the smartphone landscape of 2017? Most of the perks of this plastic colossus that is the 3310, like its fabled durability and seemingly eternal battery life, stem directly from its barebones natur

If these statements are anything to go by, then HMD is most likely planning to be the “different”, but nonetheless major, new player in the mobile market. This approach is nothing new really and has worked well for other companies in the past, with Apple and Nintendo being the prime examples. However, these two companies have always worked within the favorable confines of their own proprietary software ecosystems, while betting heavily on brand equity. Nokia definitely has a lot of the latter, no doubt about it, but it will be trying to leave its mark in a market populated by aggressive competitors who are one-upping each other and bringing out the big guns every few months.

With all this said, we think that Nokia may be destined for an epic return to the mobile world, if the new undertaking is executed well and the new phones manage to successfully walk the line between old and new. It's not an easy task this, to bring a new product out that shines with its own energy and assets, while carrying the DNA of it's revered predecessors. We have faith in HMD, we are just know better than to overhype.

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25 Comments

1. FluffyBled unregistered

So ... snake?

2. Podrick

Posts: 1283; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

Lmao!

22. DGxumbreo7

Posts: 63; Member since: Nov 27, 2016

hopefully durability is the main thing they bring back pointless to buy a brand new phone only to drop it once and crack the screen to no return. The old nokias could be ran over and still work fine like nothing happend

3. Babadook

Posts: 230; Member since: May 24, 2016

Annnnnnnd they're doomed

4. kiko007

Posts: 7469; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Sounds like a receipt to fail if I've ever heard one. The Android market has never been about brand name, it's always been about specs to price ratio. And it's not like Nokia was moving massive amounts of smartphones even before the MSFT acquisition...... so I have no clue where this delusional confidence in the as a brand comes from. At least with WM Nokia was unique..... now they'll be just another generic cookie cutter Android OEM. That's probably a good deal better than their previous situation...... but it is in no way an ideal outlook.

6. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

Man please shut up. Where you living in a cave those last five years. Did you hear about PureView technology, or about graphene sensors. Did you hear about the high quality high amplitude mics. Did you hear about the innovative software that Nokia implemented in their phones about camera and being able to freeze moving subjects in dark light with a simple led. I think you where living in a cave. You don't know nothing about what you are saying.

7. kiko007

Posts: 7469; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"Man please shut up." Was that REALLY necessary? Did I taunt Nokia in any way? "Where you living in a cave those last five years." Nope. However, based off your linguistic capabilities..... you probably have :). "Did you hear about PureView technology, or about graphene sensors." Yes and yes. Neither of which are even known Nokia patents as of now. I could have sworn MSFT did something with both... "Did you hear about the high quality high amplitude mics" Actually no......because who the hell buys a smartphone for the mic? Who the hell are you recording.....Chance the rapper? "Did you hear about the innovative software that Nokia implemented in their phones about camera and being able to freeze moving subjects in dark light with a simple led." Sounds cool....too bad if I gave that much of a damn about camera quality I would buy a DSLR. "I think you where living in a cave. You don't know nothing about what you are saying." I think you're delusional....... and you no clue what sells smattphones. Mics....lmfao!

25. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

actually both pureview and graphene are known nokia patents, haac mics sets nokia mics from the competition and you also don't know about how much phones they were moving before they joined Microsoft because until the burning platform memo by Stephen flop nokia was still the top seller of handsets

11. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1457; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

I can't wait to see how that pans out. Better have great screen, no bezels, and for me a 5.7 screen or I will not think of buying it.

20. funtikar

Posts: 25; Member since: May 05, 2012

It's all different now man. I loved Nokia but you have to realize Just having good feature here and there isnt enough to capture the millions(the casual joe). Those are fun to people like you and me who are enthusiastic with specs alone. If Nokia were to comeback and actually make money they need to be like Samsung and Apple be well (somewhat) well rounded, able to be picked up by the casual joe(please dont shove me with WP is perfect and I have alternative apps for each function thats missing compared on some phone on Android) to kiko007.... the android market is a very vast sea... there are for people who cares about brand and specs.... for Brands you can obviously see Apple and Samsung for specs you see Oneplus,Xiaomi,Nexus(dead,replaced by well rounded Pixel) etc

8. meanestgenius

Posts: 21345; Member since: May 28, 2014

I disagree on your point about "The Android market has never been about brand name, it's always been about specs to price ratio." Just look at how Samsung is the current king of the Android hill for proof. There are Android phones out there that compete with Samsung handsets on a specs to specs comparison, as well as a plethora of Android handsets that compete with Samsung on the low end. But Samsung still remains above them in terms of market share. Why? Brand name. Brand recognition. And a huge amount of marketing. Nokia already has the brand name/recognition, and has promised a huge amount of marketing to go with it. If there were ever a company that could compete with Samsung (or any other company) on brand name/recognition, it's Nokia. As far as whether Nokia was moving "massive amounts of smartphones before the Microsoft acquisition, the answer is YES, they were. Ever hear of Nokia's Symbian handsets? Nokia was on top with Symbian for years, and at one point was larger than their 3 nearest competitors combined in the smartphone space, and that included Apple and Samsung. If Nokia can make a handset that "just works", as in performs amazingly well, is easy to use, has that great Nokia build quality that everyone loves, produces stellar photos and has great speaker-sound quality, as well as performing all of the primary functions of a phone to almost (if not complete) perfection, they'll have a winner. They were winning for years without competing in the specs war, and most Nokia Symbian fans wanted Nokia to go the Android route. If Nokia can produce handsets that brings back that kind of nostalgia, even with it running Android, and it "just works", they'll have a winner.

10. gigicoaste

Posts: 431; Member since: Feb 21, 2016

well obvious you are not the target for this company. Go to buy gione with 6gb of ram even if you will use just 2 of them and no coming updates. Maybe you want a device full of bloter like Samsung or a closed software with hardware inovations released by others in 2000, like.. Apple. I'll choose reliability and improvments someone which really values their customers not wanting only mony selling any crap.. IMO

13. jojon

Posts: 421; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

..you want to see a real recipe of failure...look in the mirror!

15. kiko007

Posts: 7469; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Speaking from experience I take it?

18. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2252; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

1. It is true that the Android market has not really been about brand name, however it's not necessarily been about price/specs ratio either. If it were, then there would only need to be a handful of brands to satisfy the totality of this need: Samsung for the high-end market, Sony/Motorola for mid-range, and Alcatel for the low-end (as an example, don't take this list literally). Actually what the Android market should represent, and it can definitely be argued that it hasn't been this way for some time, is differentiation. This can definitely be seen in the Asian marketplace where you find Android flip phones, phones like the Sharp Aquos with edge-to-edge screens, and ones with and without keyboards. It's not just hardware differentiation either, but also in the software with different UIs from the complex Touchwiz to the simplistic vanilla Android to something inbetween like Blackberry's UI. People buy an Android device because it fits their specific needs, whether it's practically a camera with just a phone attached (ex: Kodak Ektra) or a large phablet (like the Lenovo Phab 2) or a top of the line phone that presents the latest features (like the Galaxy S7 Edge). What manufacturers are forgetting is individuality and building phones that may not sell to an entire population, but will cater to those few million that want a specific sort of device. 2. I have to disagree with the logic that Microsoft and Windows Phone gave Nokia a "uniqueness". While Microsoft's Windows Phone has come a long way and right now represents something that is interesting and offers a compelling competition in terms of software, it was not always that way. I've owned a few Windows devices from Windows 6, Windows Phone 7, and Windows Phone 8. I can tell you that it didn't really matter whether you picked up a Nokia or an HTC or a Samsung Windows device...they all felt the same in those days. And that was because Microsoft set pretty strict standards with Windows Phone 7 when it came to hardware. There was no real way for manufacturers to differentiate from each other besides design. Software was pretty much identical, if not completely. Screen resolutions also had to be similar, they had to use the same processors, the same amount of RAM, etc. In fact, the Nokia 800 was just a butchered N9 that they ruined the aesthetic design on. So, no, Nokia wasn't able to really be unique, except for one area which is... 3. You claim that camera quality doesn't matter to you, but that's actually one of the top reasons (if not the very top reason) that people bought Nokia phones over the other competition. The Lumia 1020 had a massive 41 MP camera. The 1520 had a 20 MP camera. And this was years ago when the next largest camera was maybe pushing 12 or 13 MP at most. They became well known for their photo quality and people were buying them for that reason. That was the only way they were able to be unique under Microsoft was those few technologies.

19. rkoforever90

Posts: 411; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

Nokia brand itself has good value especially in asia, considering that even half baked phone like nokia x had good demand there a decent phone will give Nokia enough numbers in terms of sales. Price and marketing plays the major role than specs alone.

5. dufis

Posts: 79; Member since: Jun 27, 2014

no spects no nokia!

9. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3090; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

"Connecting people" ahh the nostalgia.

12. Valdomero

Posts: 635; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

I just want a Nokia N8 with Android 7.1, stereo speakers, Quad HD Resolution, sd card slot, 4GB RAM, Snapdragon 820, a juicy battery maybe 3300 mAh. Oh and their top quality lens please :)

23. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

I can tell you that you will need to forget this. One main reason why Nokia was successful years ago was not because of their specs in terms of raw power. In the days on Windows Mobile 6 and previous, Nokia was never releasing products with high Mhz and a lot of RAM, and they s to ll outsell their competition. Now, the market had changed in 2007 and what we can observe is that we are slowly returning to the pre 2007 era with manufacturers just releasing devices quicker and quicker and not putting the effort elsewhere. This is where Nokia will strike them hard. Nokia is well known to give very good features in their phone and very advanced technology. You remember the N86, N86, 808 ? I still can't get a smartphone in 2016 with an FM transmitter. The main reason why Nokia managed to keep up with their Windows Phone era was top technology AND build quality. It is only now Samsung starts to catch up with the build quality and design whereas Nokia was already mastering this years ago. Nokia was one of the first if not the first to massively use OLED screens on the phone. The first to use high amplitude microphones which is breathtaking when recording meetings and concerts. They where the first to put a good camera zoom on a thin phone. The first to have a competitive camera close to dedicated one in a small phone. One of the first for Xenon flash on phones. The best for business I Hines with very good keyboards. Nokia means very long lasting durability. Have extreme confidence that Nokia will make a strong come back on the market and I will be the first to ditch this Samsung Galaxy that I have for a Nokia. I didn't even buy the Galaxy because it was good. I bought it because it was the less bad of all the bad phones that I could buy.

24. Valdomero

Posts: 635; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

You sir, told the truth, +1 for you

14. mahima

Posts: 714; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

i just want their great camera and great build quality I don't care about 6gb ram, 4k or whatever They have to build a phone 'that just work' with great camera and good battery

16. SailfishOS

Posts: 108; Member since: Nov 06, 2016

Waits for a nokia phone so i can port sailfish into it... I'm not interested in nokia for the android... Just for the ”Nokia”

17. SailfishOS

Posts: 108; Member since: Nov 06, 2016

Waits for a nokia phone so i can port sailfish into it... I'm not interested in nokia for the android... Just for the ”Nokia”

21. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

Who tried Bantumi game and didn't win?

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