So in case you missed it there were rumours earlier this year that Nokia was going to come out with Smartphones. It’s official now. The company has announced that it will unveil Android powered smartphones in the last quarter of 2016. The manufacturing will be taken over by HMD, a company run by former Nokia and Microsoft employees that coincidentally owns Nokia now. The assembly will be done by Foxconn. The news was confirmed on the Chinese site, ThePaper by Nokia executive Mike Wang. Previously, HMD had acquired the rights to put the Nokia brand on smartphones from Microsoft.
The rumours so far have been that 3 to 4 devices are up for release. They will have screens ranging from 5.2 to 5.5 inches with Quad HD OLED displays. They will also feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and run Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. The phones are also rumoured to have a full metal design different from the polycarbonate body that the company was usually known for. The most incredible feature is the 22.6 megapixel camera but then Nokia had made a name for itself with over-sized cameras when it was struggling to stay relevant (remember the PureView 808 with the giant 41 megapixel camera?).
Along with these high end smartphones, Nokia is planning to release two new feature phones in the next six months. It is also looking to enter the digital health market as Apple clearly has. It acquired Withings this year, a French consumer electronics company with a focus on designing connected health devices, for $191 million. Withings makes temporal artery thermometers, blood pressure monitors, WiFi body scales and Smart baby monitors just to name a few.
Once it was the king of mobile phones. Most millennials alive today will probably remember the N-series that dominated smartphones until the iPhone came along and totally changed the game. Before that there was no challenger. At it’s peak, Nokia’s Symbian OS had 62.5% of the world’s market share. Other brands like Samsung and LG just couldn’t compete. Even the best selling cell phone of all time is still the Nokia 1100 (250 million units sold).
But fortune favours the brave and competitors took chances on new operating systems and phone models that proved to be big hits among consumers. The old Symbian OS just couldn’t deliver. Even when they started using Windows Phone OS, the lack of apps was their undoing. Even today, with Microsoft taking over Nokia’s original smartphone division, their market share is in single digits (by 2015 it was 1.9%*).
The N1 Tablet
Last year, the company made a comeback of sorts with its N1 Android powered tablet. It shipped with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box and had an 8 MP rear camera with a 2.4 GHz Intel Atom chip, 2GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The device sold out in flash sales across China and racked up units sold in the hundreds of thousands. Perhaps this was a test run of what Nokia could still accomplish. The tablet was met with positive reviews for its hardware and software.