Can Nokia’s Nostalgia win them the Mobile Game?

Nokia Board on a street at night

Somewhere in the early 2000s: People are going crazy over the superfluous design and smooth performance of the Symbian OS powered Finnish brand NOKIA. The brand was a household name almost all over the world due to their sturdy build quality and stupendous camera quality. Nokia collaborated with the German optics maker Carl Zeiss and this made them the best camera phone makers around the world.

Somewhere in early 2019: Users are drooling over the DSLR like camera quality in a smartphone. Yes, smartphones are a reality now, which can replace a laptop completely. People are using them for around 7 to 8 hours a day. Companies such as Apple and Samsung are constantly striving towards giving the users a premium experience. Xiaomi, OnePlus and other Chinese manufacturers are constantly in pursuit of satisfying the customers with value for money offerings. The one name that is missing out is the household name from the early 2000s – NOKIA. The Finnish brand is nowhere to be seen in the forefront anymore.

Can the brand survive the modern era and the game of smartphones? Can they win just with their Nostalgic factor? Let’s read further to know.

As we know, Nokia was reigning the mobile phone market in the 1990s and 2000s. However, since the inception of smartphones from the house of Apple in 2007, the brands started to fall back. The so-called smart OS of Nokia – Symbian could not compete with the smooth performance of Apple’s iOS or for that matter Google’s Android that launched in 2008. Once beloved and one of the most popular mobile phone brand Nokia went downhill with the advent of Android. The company decided to adopt Windows OS for their Lumia devices instead of Android and this proved to be one the worst decision in the smartphone history.

Apple, HTC and Samsung started out as the initial players and later numerous players joined them. Nokia somewhere lost in time with their past glory. They tried to catch up with Microsoft’s Windows OS for smartphones. Windows OS is the most widely used OS on the laptops and desktops platform but it failed on the smartphone platforms simply due to the lack of applications in its App Store. At the same time, older, as well as newer brands, grew constantly as they accepted Android as their OS. The business was so bad that the brand had to sell off their mobile phone business to survive. They continued with their telecom network business.

We have heard stories of the phoenix bird that rises from its ashes. Nokia’s story is a real-life Phoenix where the brand has emerged from the ashes and is now soaring high. But how long will it continue is a cause of concern for the new owners of Nokia’s mobile arm.

HMD Global is the new owner of the mobile phone manufacturing and selling arm of Nokia. They bounced back into the market with the aim to rise with power and love in the hearts of the consumers. They launched their new series of Nokia phones with new and updated Android software.

After years of struggle with the Windows OS in their Lumia smartphones, finally, they decided to go with the flow and accept Android for their smartphones. They have started selling newer models of Nokia devices such as the Nokia 3, 5, 7, 6.1, 7 plus, 8.1 Sirocco and so on. These models are moderately priced, well built as a tank, average features and reasonable camera performance. However, the market scenario has changed and nowadays these points do not ensure success. The Chinese brands have made the users addicted to cheap prices and heavy features. Even the affordable brands are offering extremely well camera performance. In such times, offering average everything is not the way to go.

Having said that, Nokia is still a good device per se but it is no more a good choice for the customers. Nostalgia was a major factor that sold much of the new devices by Nokia but the user base is changing. The kids from late 2000s do not feel connected the brand Nokia and hence the sales volume will gradually fall.

They are also planning to take on the Indian giant Reliance’s Jio Phone. Reliance disrupted the Indian market with their Jio data & call services and Jio Phone. The Jio Phone is a feature phone with alluring data pack and call offers. Nokia was well known among the Indian consumer base during the glory days of feature phones and HMD is trying to place a bet on the past glory to capture the new age Indian market. The current Indian market is dominated by Jio in the feature phone segment but Nokia with their premium build quality, reliability and new enthusiasm to accept the changing world could challenge Jio in India.

Considering all the efforts that the brand is putting in their new devices, they are trying hard. However, the market is no more favourable for the brand. They should do something radically different such as heavy features of affordability by working on innovations. Otherwise, they should leave the smartphone business and concentrate on their telecommunications business, which is a more settled business for them.

-Soumya De

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