Welcome back, Nokia. In the last two years, the Finnish brand managed to push around 70 million units of smartphones around the world. HMD Global, which owns the license to sell Nokia-branded mobile devices, made the announcement while also describing how its global expansion has gone so smoothly. It could only be the beginning, too.
The successful attempt at penetrating a volatile mobile industry can be credited to scale, consistency, and collaboration. Britta Gerbracht, who leads HMD Global's marketing efforts, sat down for an interview with WinFuture. She described how the Nokia brand was revived.
It wasn't a race to roll out as many smartphones as possible. HMD Global selected a handful of markets, and it started selling a very limited number of models. Almost all of them fell into the mid-range and entry-level segments.
The sub-brand would like to attract young consumers, but so far it's mainly nostalgic-loving individuals who are flocking to Nokia Mobile. Gerbracht says the average consumer is over 35 years old. These people are familiar with the old Nokia, whether that's through feature phones or Windows-based Lumia devices.
HMD Global also relied on partnerships, but it was more than just retailers who could increase distribution. Rather than managing on-device software, the company lets Google handle that. Just about every Nokia Mobile product belongs to Android One or Android Go. Those initiatives offer Android in its purest form and rely on Google for updates.
By the way, inexpensive hardware continues driving most of HMD Global's sales. Still, Gerbracht made it known that Nokia Mobile will push toward the top of the mid-range segment in 2019. Entry-level devices are the foundation, but HMD Global would like to see Nokia Mobile pick up slightly larger margins.
Expect HMD Global and Nokia Mobile to make several announcements during MWC in late February. The first few months of the year are always a time when new hardware goes official and aims to grab attention.