If you were a mobile phone owner in the late 1990s – early 2000s, chances are your handset was a Nokia. The Finnish manufacturer has maintained its dominant position in the mobile phone market for years. Its handsets from back in the day are still legendary – the classic 3310 is still a subject of many memes as the indestructible mobile phone, and its smartphones (notably the N95 and the E71, two Symbian-powered mobile devices) have been trendsetters until the mid-2000s.
Unfortunately, Nokia has made a few bad bets over the years. The company that has in the past contributed to the development of the GSM standard and single-handedly created mobile gaming (Snake was the first mobile game to be successful) has partnered with Microsoft in its effort to push out the Windows Phone platform. With competitors like Apple and Android, Windows Phone never managed to gather meaningful support from the community, not even after Nokia’s smartphone division (and brand) were devoured by the Redmond giant.
Innovation and downfall
Nokia phones were always synonymous with innovation, performance, and style, especially before the advent of camera phones – but reached its full potential at that time. The company saw the potential of mobile games – it has even tried to push through a dedicated portable gaming console called N-Gage, which ultimately yielded to Nintendo’s similar products. It was among the first devices on which mobile casino games were run – players could use them to redeem casino deposit bonus offers and play online casino games on the go. Unfortunately, Nokia went from innovator to virtually inexistent in the smartphone market after becoming part of Microsoft, due in special to the lack of popularity of the Windows Phone OS. What promised to be a fruitful and mutually beneficial fusion turned out to be a disaster. Ultimately, Microsoft gave up the Nokia brand, selling it to HMD Global, a company run by former Nokia executive Jean-Francois Baril. The first device released by the company was the N1 tablet, which was but a taste of things to come.
And this year, Nokia returns to the smartphone market in full force.
The return of the Finns
HMD Global is a company led by veteran Nokia staff. The company’s CEO is Arto Nummela, who spent 17 years at Nokia in the past, and its president is Florian Seiche, formerly Nokia’s Senior Vice President of sales and marketing. To show that this Nokia is indeed related to the one from the past, the company has launched a new and improved 3310 earlier this year. While the phone can only handle 2G networks at this time, its design and functions are reminiscent of the iconic original. The new 3310 is, basically, a refreshed camera phone from the mid-2000s, unfortunately, without the possibility to run Java games – it won’t run the original mobile version of the Wild Jack Mobile, unfortunately, and neither will it handle the original Snake. But it’s the perfect signal that Nokia is ready to attack.
This year, Nokia prepares to target all the segments of the smartphone markets. Its Nokia 3 handset, expected to be launched this June, will be a MediaTek-powered entry-level handset with Android 7.0 and an 8-megapixel camera, perfect for everyday tasks and running Wild Jack games on the go. Nokia 5 will have a higher performance thanks to its octa-core Snapdragon 430, 2 gigabytes of RAM, and Adreno 505 GPU. Its price tag still keeps it in the affordable category, though. Nokia 6, the manufacturer’s China-exclusive handset, has a configuration and price similar to Nokia 5. And Nokia 9, the manufacturer’s rumoured flagship handset, is expected to attack Samsung’s Galaxy S8 head-on, with a Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4 GB of RAM, and an amazing camera.
How about quality, you might ask? Nokia’s handsets can be expected to be high-quality, especially since they are built by Foxconn, the company that builds the iPhones for Apple. This tells a lot about what you can expect the new Nokia phones to be like…