Nokia devices get better with age, says HMD Global’s Higgins

Operating system and security updates combine for unique value proposition, says vendor
HMD Global's Lisa Higgins (Image: HMD Global)

3 July 2019

The Nokia phone brand has had a welcome reintroduction through HDM Global.

Always a popular brand in Ireland, Lisa Higgins, business manager, Ireland, HMD Global, spoke to about brand legacy, a competitive Android landscape and differentiators in the market.

“We offer customers a unique Android promise, which we believe other vendors are not in a position to do,” said Higgins.




This unique offering is based around the fact that Nokia phones running Android offer a particular value proposition that other vendors do not. Firstly, as part of the Android One programme, there is no bloatware, overlays or fat in the offering. Nokia smart phones offer as close an experience to the pure Android OS as possible. This means that Nokia phones can also offer two operating system updates over the projected life time of the phone. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, Nokia phones benefit from monthly security updates for 36 months.

“This means that customers are future-proofed. We believe that means our phones get better with time,” said Higgins.

These points are key differentiators in a crowded Android market, and when combined with what are seen as more traditional brand values, makes Nokia a distinct offering.

“Around the world, the Nokia brand has always stood for the same things, which would be reliability, trust and quality. Irrespective of where you are, everybody would have had that positive experience with the Nokia brand, and there’s a strong heritage there,” said Higgins.

“We are carrying forward that legacy, expressed in the likes of the battery life, hard-wearing materials and quality build.

“To differentiate ourselves within the market, we needed to do more, so there is a strategic partnership with Google to continue that reliability and trust story from a software perspective,” said Higgins.

Another manifestation of such developments is the dedicated Google button on current generation Nokia phones. Instead of having to say “OK, Google” to activate the voice search options, Nokia device owners need only press the dedicated button, developed in conjunction with Google, and dictate their request.

Higgins said this feature should help appeal to younger users who may not have been aware of Nokia devices of old. She said this should help drive awareness of offerings from millennials on to the younger generations. 

Higgins said that a key point for Nokia devices was that, irrespective of the entry point, from a €79 device to the €699 one, the same value proposition was available. The OS and security updates, with long battery life and quality build, are common across all Nokia devices, ensuring that users are futureproofed for the life of their devices.

This is an issue that has been highlighted on many occasions, where heavily modified versions of Android took months or years to receive underlying OS updates due to the onerous task of ensuring compatibility with the bundled apps and overlays. Or, worse still, no updates at all were offered, particularly affecting mid to low end devices, leaving them vulnerable on the security front.

The Android One programme was in part designed to address these issues.

Higgins said through working with its technical partners, such as Qualcomm, Zeiss and Google, it can offer competitive devices, at attractive price points, that, when combined with the update schedules and brand qualities, form a unique value proposition.

Building on these relationships, the company is actively working on the upcoming Android Q OS, as well as other developments such as 5G.

However, Higgins admits that 5G is not yet a top priority, as network support and user demand in its main markets is unlikely to be strong in the short term.

HMD Global has just launched its mid-range Nokia 4.2 handset in Ireland. The 5.7” device features a 13MP camera, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage running Android 9 on a Snapdragon 439 chipset with an octa-core CPU via a 720 x 1520 pixel screen with a 19:9 aspect ratio, and a 295 ppi density, all in a sub €200 package.

Watch this space for a hands-on review.

TechCentral Reporters

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