Nokia-maker mixes with Apple, Samsung in new smartphone launch

2017-08-17 10:35 - Kaye Wiggins, Bloomberg
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Nokia 3310


London - Finnish company HMD Global Oy unveiled its latest Nokia-branded smartphone in a first bid to win over Samsung and Apple customers.

The Nokia 8 will be available in September and will retail for a global average price of €599, HMD said on Wednesday.

The company, which started operating in 2016 with an exclusive license for Nokia-branded phones, has so far focused its efforts to revive the Nokia brand on cheaper smartphones and a redesign of the classic Nokia 3310, first sold in 2000.

READ: Here is what the relaunched iconic Nokia 3310 looks like

In February, HMD unveiled the Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 smartphones, priced at €139 and €189 respectively.

Juho Sarvikas, HMD’s chief product officer, said now was “the perfect time” to introduce the model, which he describes as a flagship product. The phone will feature a “dual-sight” photo and video function, in which images from the front and rear cameras will be displayed simultaneously on a split screen. HMD describes the feature as “less Selfie, more Bothie”.

HMD had chosen to release cheaper models first because 50% of global demand was for phones costing between €100 and €250, Sarvikas said in an interview. “We wanted to start there, where we know that we are highly relevant with our proposition. We’re very eager to enter the flagship segment as well.”

New optics 

The new device has Zeiss cameras, after HMD said in July that it had signed a partnership with the group, part of the German optics company Carl Zeiss AG.

The launch comes as Apple prepares to launch a new iPhone and Samsung rolls out its new Galaxy Note 8. Sarvikas said by phone that HMD was “less concerned about competition; we’re here to design for the consumers.” 

Demand for the redesigned 3310 feature phone, unveiled in February, had been “very strong.” Sarvikas was unable to share detailed sales figures but said HMD had sold “millions” of smartphones and “tens of millions” of feature phones - of which the 3310 is just one model.

Nokia Oyj sold the handset business to  Microsoft in 2014. In 2016 Microsoft sold it to HMD and FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Chinese phone maker Foxconn Technology. HMD’s CEO Arto Nummela, a former Nokia executive, left the company last month.

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