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February 26, 2017

Comments

Mike

@all

They are fine now with selling phones with vanilla android, butt further on the way it will become harder and harder. Not only because of possible pressure from marketdroids that want to increase margins by reselling some preinstalled bloatware, which happened to Motorola when acquired by Lenovo. I hope they will manage to fight out that one. But even when introducting own and needed apps, like camera app, this will require much higher than usual coding quality to be able to add such a thing and keep such demanding promises about updates. Every single own app, especially HW related, requires testing and very often changes with new android releases. Fingers crossed, but this may be very hard to do, and the better phone, the harder to achieve that.

Huber

@Mike: In Europe and the USA at least, some carriers will demand that some bloat is added. I don't think that Nokia will be able to avoid this - only Apple could "force" these carriers to not bloat their phones. Nokia lacks the power to do so. This of course also means that updates are delayed by the carriers or not released at all.

But what Nokia CAN do is to provide the possibility to update the phones independently of the carrier via some Nokia tool. On Symbian, this was possible back then via the OVI suite, so I'd assume this can also work on Android.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Paul, Huber, Mike

Paul - good points about most consumers not caring about security & updates. Obviously there will be a niche market (that can be large) of those who do care haha.. but I agree, most don't.

Huber & Mike - about the bloatware and especially the carriers demanding it (valid point!). First on the camera app, gosh yeah, shows how far its been since I did any coding. Of course yeah, then if you do regular updates to OS, and you have your own camera (or other) app then occasionally THAT needs to be updated or modified and gosh, that adds to that headache and testing etc.

But about the carriers. Totally agree yes, this is especially what American and many European (and some richer Asian) carriers want from manufacturers. And HMD is in no position to say no. There will be bloat (haha). BUT.. this is AGAIN the genius of this strategy. These 3 Android smartphones will be 'interesting' to Western telcos yes, but they will not go crazy about them. But now go read the reviews in the Emerging World press - these phones will JUMP OFF THE SHELVES. They will sell like hot cakes. The carriers usually don't care much about bloatware and for these phones, they will be fine to accept them into the market as is. That is one THIRD of the world's phone market, covered by haha, 10 sales guys. And they will be 'order-takers' in those markets - the carriers (and independent handset retailers) will all stand in line to sign the paperwork to get the first deliveries when the phones are out. Those 10 countries they will utterly love these phones. And they will ALSO love it that HMD is 'talking to their needs' especially with the 3310 (Which will also have a nice profit margin for their retail vs most no-name ultra-cheap dumbphones).

I agree bloatware will be an issue - but here HMD will most certainly prioritize those markets that are eager to go, and willing to take the base phones now, rather than the more advanced Western markets that will want some customization. So we may well see these 3 Android smartphones launched in many say European markets in Q3 not Q2, and probably not in the USA at all. It won't matter in the market share because the success is that much stronger in those 10 best countries.

PS - I added an addendum to the blog article on the top to discuss this side in more detail.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

zlutor

@Paul: "You also said a flagship phone would be out in MWC" - after hostile movement of Samsung - withholding the whole(!) first batch of 835 SoCs - what could have been announced?

Either an inferior product - naysayers would instantly come in to blame Nokia - or delayed flagship.

HMD went for the latter one...

Wayne Brady

Goodness, this blog will revive. Happy to see you so excited again, Tomi. And true to form, I learn from your global perspective...and have some disagreements.

To ME, its Android 7.1 with the promise of regular updates that is most attractive. In this price category (and even with most premium Android phones), one expects to buy a new phone to get an update to the OS. And it's not particularly common for the brand new phone to have the latest Android Android. There are still new phones being sold with Android 5.

Now, the carriers will screw up this advantage by adding their bloatware apps and not providing timely updates. So, were I to buy one of these phones, I'd want an unlocked version sold directly. And give Nokia's poor carrier relationships in the USA in the past, I just may get the chance.

I have no idea how powerful Nokia's brand is in the nations you cite. What I do think is missing from your analysis is that the competition will respond. Any feature that is a breakthrough by Nokia at this pricepoint will be copied in months, if not weeks.

That's one of the aspects to these phones that excite me most. I sure hope having the latest Android, mostly vanilla, with regular updates gains traction. I hope that decent camera tech at those prices becomes the norm.

I'd like to see Nokia team up with Amazon for distribution in the US as Motorola has. Getting that Nokia 3 with Amazon offers for $99 would be great

zlutor

@Huber: "The most important point is the vanilla AOSP Android experience"

AOSP is stand for Android Open Source Project - has nothing to do with Nokia devices (outside of China).

AOSP = the pure Android, without any Google services

What HMD is offering is _pure_, _stock_ Android: no extra software but the one released by Google (obviously including all Google services _on top_ of AOSP)

David Doherty

Hi Tomi/Aryan,

Brilliant post as usual. Great to see Nokia back in the game.

The 3310 sister phone is a great idea but I get the feeling they've already launched a sister device with the dual SIM model.

Perhaps the launch priority should've been the 3310 with 2G and a 3310 World version (with 3G and at a much higher price for the Nokia fans in affluent countries that want to show their loyalty) and then the Dual SIM model at a later date (especially as there will be plenty of DIY kits you can add to add dual SIM capabilities).

They could've started selling the 3G version online today in markets that are price insensitive and without the network reception issues. In countries with 3G that are increasingly refarming 2G I don't think it would be a good idea to buy a 2G mobile for a child or parent that can't access most of the mobile networks as these customers (while making small network demands) do have a heightened need for reachability that could be compromised by the lack of 3G.

As a side note the lack of 3G is also a bit inconsistent with and counter to the 'other' Nokia's expensive 5G marketing message being communicated at MWC17.

Huber

@zlutor:

"Android" is just a trademark of Google.

AOSP means "Android Open Source Project" ==> This is the OS itself.

If you install the proprietary Google Apps on top of AOSP, you can ask Google if you may use the "Android" brand. You have to follow some rules, then you get the permission.

But you can also fork AOSP, like Samsung, LG etc. does and still get the rights to the "Android" brand (again you have to follow some rules)

As an enthusiast, you can download AOSP for your device (if somebody has developed it)

Example of AOSP for the Sony Xperia Z2 tablet by the independent developer rcstar 6696 (download link): https://mega.nz/#F!6RgEQJDK!xsZfjKz0xmViD_x2AFKrrQ!2YAzGYaB

To get "Android", you have to additionally install the Google Apps, e.g. from here: http://opengapps.org/

The Google Apps are the same for any Android device with the same Android release, only the AOSP-based part is different.

This is why I write "AOSP" - it's about the underlying OS of the device, not about the Google Apps which are the same for any Android 7.1-device.


E.Casais

"the lack of 3G is also a bit inconsistent with and counter to the 'other' Nokia's expensive 5G marketing message"

No inconsistency at all if you realize that:

a) The 3310ng is squarely targeted at third-world countries where 2G remains the workhorse of mobile communications.

b) HMD does not believe that it can bring 3G or 4G capable _basic_ phones at the right price soon enough, before the market for basic phones as such is nearing extinction and is replaced by entry-level smartphones.

c) The _real_ Nokia is talking and developing 5G; the devices like the 3310ng brought to market _are_ _not_ from Nokia, but from HMD/Foxconn, which licensed the _brand_ from the real Nokia for their handsets.

zlutor

@Huber: yes, AOSP is the OS itself - that's why I said HMD does not provide AOSP stuff but pure 'Google Android' - no HMD specific modification at all
Long story short AOSP means Android without Google services AFAIK...
https://source.android.com/source/faqs.html

Anyway, the thing is here HMD does not do any modification ensuring all new updates of the used OS will go to the devices with no delay.
No need to update HMD specific sw according to the new OS versions...

John A

I think Nokia will be a big brand again maybe not in 2017. But in 2 years possible. I like the fact they going for "stock android" and not trying to put some Nokia skin on it.
HMD Global will of course to build up relations with dealers and distribution again after Elop and Microsoft destroyed it.

As they pointed out in the MWC 2017 event 74% of those who bought a Nokia 6 in China have never own a Nokia before or have no special connections to the "old Nokia" brand. So it are not just nostalgia.

Withings with connected devices, smartwatches changes its name to Nokia aswell.
The team in HMD Global seems like smart and competent people, so they have big chances to succés.

chithanh

I think the lack of 3G is not a problem in most markets. There are only few countries which plan to eliminate 2G.

With technologies like GL-DSS it is more likely that a majority will end 3G first, especially in emerging markets with large 2G population.

About the 3310 price, I think it is too high to become a hit of the proportions that Tomi seems to expect. $49 is three to five times as much as the basic dumbphones sold today.

@zlutor
Whether you build the device firmware from AOSP or from some manufacturer codebase doesn't matter as long as you meet the compatibility requirements. Then the manufacturer can choose to preinstall Google Play Store etc.

John A

Some news at the distribution, they will make the Nokia devices localy in India for that market:

http://www.fonearena.com/blog/213307/new-nokia-android-phones-to-be-made-in-india-and-launch-in-june.html

Will keep the price down. And in UK they have a deal with Carphone Warehouse:

http://nokiapoweruser.com/carphone-warehouse-carry-nokia-6-exclusive-3-5-3310-posts-first-look-video/

So it seems things starting to take off fast now for HMD Global with distribution deals.

Wayne Brady

With the sealed battery Nokia's, and LG's new flagship also ditching the "removable battery" - are we finally ready to admit that it's not "all that" of a feature? How so? Why so? Because there are battery packs now, thanks largely to Apple. Instead of having a custom extra battery that only works with your exact phone, now you battery packs that charge ANYTHING, including the next phone you buy, your bluetooth headset, your tablet, your bluetooth speaker.

Antonio

Dear Toni,

Your recent comment about Nokia's country strategy is both very sharp and interesing from a global marketing perspective. Spot on!

I would also like to add that re-launching the 3310 is a coup de grace of marketing genius. it is rare to see marketing brilliance at this level. It creates a media buzz like nothing else - free marketing - it tells the world that Nokia is back and back with a vengeance and finally it links the new stuff with the extremly strong brand heritage from the past 20 or more years.

The phones appear to exude the historical Nokia quality, I only miss waterproff and replaceable battery (maybe they are replaceable - I couldn't tell).

The market is interesting again!

David Doherty

Hi Tomi/Aryan,

Brilliant post as usual. Great to see Nokia back in the game.

The 3310 sister phone is a great idea but I get the feeling they've already launched a sister device with the dual SIM model.

Perhaps the launch priority should've been the 3310 with 2G and a 3310 World version (with 3G and at a much higher price for the Nokia fans in affluent countries that want to show their loyalty) and then the Dual SIM model at a later date (especially as there will be plenty of DIY kits you can add to add dual SIM capabilities).

They could've started selling the 3G version online today in markets that are price insensitive and without the network reception issues. In countries with 3G that are increasingly refarming 2G I don't think it would be a good idea to buy a 2G mobile for a child or parent that can't access most of the mobile networks as these customers (while making small network demands) do have a heightened need for reachability that could be compromised by the lack of 3G.

As a side note the lack of 3G is also a bit inconsistent with and counter to the 'other' Nokia's expensive 5G marketing message being communicated at MWC17.

Posted by: David Doherty | February 27, 2017 at 02:25 PM

E.Casais

"are we finally ready to admit that it's not "all that" of a feature? "

Not at all.

A battery pack solves _only one_ of the issues addressed by a removable battery: restoring the charge in
of a battery that is down without having access to a charger and an electric plug.

It does _not_ solve the problem of revamping a mobile phone whose battery has seen its capacity going down to unbearable levels because of intensive usage. For that, you must replace the battery. And sealed batteries make it more difficult, even near impossible without sending the whole phone to a specialized outfit.

Besides, a battery pack is bigger and heavier than a spare battery.

The sole convincing justification for a sealed battery is waterproofing -- but most devices with a sealed battery do not even provide that feature...

pfm

Nokia using standard Android poses 4 major threats, but I understand that they have had to do it for their first shot and I am happy that I will therefore get my next Nokia earlier.
1. Since Android 7.0 every version is full of bugs and OEMs have to iron them out before releasing it. That's the reason why this time it is taking so long to distribute the updates.
Bugs? Yes, a lot of them. February security patch switches off Bluetooth on Pixels. Since 7.1.1 many Nexuses and Pixels shut down at 30% charge levels (my Nexus 6P und Pixel does); reboots at least once a week; catastrophic RAM management, which does not keep more than 2 apps alive on Nexus 6P and not more than 3 on Pixels; Audio problems on Pixels; camera problems on Pixels; and on and on since 7.0. If you don't believe me, take a look at the Android and Pixel support forums or at the respective threads in XDA or Reddit.
2. Support forums are the next problem. Google basically doesn't care about customers. They are used to it that OEMs take care of it, and the forums are used by geeks and programmers - and it is all US-style. Looking forward to Nokia target customers in Tomis 10 countries reporting problems in US-style.
Nokia/HMD definitely have to set up a support organization which also covers Android bugs.
3. User interface. Google has been never good in UI, OEMs had to take care with skins. They are adopting improvements from their OEMs usually 2 to 3 years later, see Multi Window from Samsung and LG, or handling of notifications and a lot of other things. There are still boring shortcomings in vanilla versus skins, like the invisible battery level (at least as far as I am concerned and during charging everybody); the stupid "Do not disturb" instead of "Silent"; the subpar recents handling (as compared with Good Lock from Samsung); the messy settings as compared with the settings in Note 7 and updated Galaxy S7; no bluelight filter except for Pixels; etc, etc.
4. I hope that Nokia have learned from the experience of putting all eggs in the Microsoft basket and do not repeat this error with Google again. And the Google of 2017 is quite a different beast than the Google of 2010. Being evil is no problem for them any longer.

Wayne Brady

@E.Casias - fair point about dead battery

luvr

I do not yet own a smartphone, but just a simple, old-fashioned device that only does calls and SMS, from Emporia. I would *LOVE* to get a next-generation 3310, and I'm indifferent as to whether or not it would do any internet at all; just the cameras as an extra feature would do it for me.

As for a smartphone, if the new Nokia can make an attractive model, then I'm pretty sure it won't be all too long until I finally get one... but I would still like to get a 3310-like device first!

grogxd

Reading some South American articles(from Brazil and some other countries), the reception of the new lineup seems quite promising (as far as we consider online comments representative), the only criticism the 3310 faced was the lack of Whatsapp, but it's not like its target audience will care about it. Lots of comments of people showing its Nokia loyalism, I didn't read one comment complaining about the lack of a flagship, people wanting to know if the phones will be released in its country, lots of jokes about snake/phone sturdiness and little to none negativity.
I've got the feeling that Brazilians are the biggest nokia lovers in South America too. (I'm Argentinian btw)

AnotherFailure

Why would you pay 199 for a 2G phone when you can get cheapo Android phone for 50?
No go. Nice try, but no go.

ChrisB

@AnotherFailure: You really live up to your nick name. Why didn't you read the blog post?

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Everybody

Please note that I am releasing 3 charts/tables for free out of the brand-new TomiAhonen Almanac 2017 (which includes of course a whole chapter on handsets). I am sure each of you has a preference. Go vote now. You may get YOUR fave chart released for free. Am taking votes here on the blog and via Twitter (you may vote twice if you use both channels but only once via blog or Twitter alone). You may ALSO go get your friends to come to vote haha... help you win your free chart/table... Please vote in the appropriate blog comment section of course, not here in this thread

Tomi Ahonen :-)

asd

Hi Tomi,

What phone/tech blogs would you recommend reading, if someone wants to find out more about what people in these 10 countries, or in other countries outside of N-America / Europe, think about these phones or about other tech?

I tried to find some, but most of the tech blogs that show up in my searches are from NAM or EU. Fonearena and gadgets.ndtv.com are two I found from India, but other than that I didn't have much luck.

Also what do you, and anyone else who happens to read this, think, should HMD go with the exclusive channel approach in these 10 markets the way they went with JD.com in China? Having a strong partner would be good, but if there really is interest from everyone, does the exclusive approach hurt the sales? Does it hurt future relationships woth others if they now choose one retailer or network, or are the telcos in these markets used to exclusive deals as business as usual?

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Hong Kong but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit www.tomiahonen.com Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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