Nokia 8: Attempt by HMD Global to breathe life into brand that once dominated market
The Nokia 8 boasts three industry-first features for Android smartphones, including a collaboration with ZEISS optics, Nokia ‘OZO Audio’ and ‘Dual-Sight’ mode.gadgets Updated: Aug 17, 2017 14:00 IST
Finnish start-up HMD Global is looking to breathe life into the Nokia phone brand by unveiling the Nokia 8, with hopes to cash in on rising consumer demand for high-quality audio and video features.
Available in four colours -- polished blue, polished copper, tempered blue and steel – the flagship phone will be available at the global price of 599 euros ($705) through September, the company said.
The device boasts three industry-first features for Android smartphones, including a collaboration with ZEISS optics, Nokia ‘OZO Audio’ and ‘Dual-Sight’ mode. With only 4.6mm thin at the edge and 7.3mm slim on average, the flagship device’s unibody is made from 6000 series aluminium with select models featuring a high-gloss mirror finish.
The Android device, due out in September, will potentially beat rivals on price but will still face fierce competition, with Apple’s highly anticipated 10th anniversary iPhone also expected next month and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 set to hit the market next week.
But apart from trying to rival Apple and Samsung, the company has another challenge at hand: fighting the brand’s tumultuous past. Here is Nokia’s story so far, as tracked in a piece by The Guardian:
Nokia dominated the mobile phone market for the more than a decade from the late 1990s, but was left trailing behind Apple and Samsung in the smartphone era following the launch of the iPhone in 2007. The Finnish company sold its loss-making mobile devices division to Microsoft in 2013 to focus on its telecoms network equipment business.
Now a group of former Nokia executives, backed by private equity, have formed the new company HMD Global and bought back their former employer’s feature phone business from Microsoft , aiming to bring the Nokia handset brand back to its former glory with a range of new smartphones.
Nokia was founded in 1865 as a pulp mill near the town of Tampere and once made everything from toilet paper to car tyres, before the Espoo-headquartered company moved in to communications technology in the 1980s. In 1985 Nokia launched its first mobile phone, the Mobira Talkman, but it was 1987’s Cityman which shot to fame when pictured in use by Mikhail Gorbachev.
By 1998, Nokia had overtaken mobile phone pioneer Motorola to become the bestselling global mobile phone brand, manufacturing its 100-millionth phone by December that year, with revenues of $20bn (then £13bn) and 55,000 staff by the year 2000.
The Nokia 3310 was launched in 2000, with the world’s bestselling phone of all time, the Nokia 1100, appearing in 2003. Nokia also launched the first camera phone in the US in 2003, partnering with the German optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss in 2005.
Nokia launched the world’s first smartphone in 1996 – the Nokia 9000 Communicator – and a series of popular smartphones using its Symbian operating system followed in the early 2000s. But Nokia’s long slide from relevance started with the launch of Apple’s iPhone, which used superior touchscreen technology and left the Finnish firm’s keypad-based handsets looking decidedly vintage.
Nokia struggled to make competitive Symbian-based smartphones and in 2011 partnered with Microsoft to develop handsets using the Windows Phone operating system, such as the Lumia 800. But with shrinking market share and mounting losses, Nokia bowed out of the mobile handset business two years later. Microsoft discontinued the Nokia brand for mobile phones in November 2014.
With inputs from The Guardian, Reuters and IANS
First Published: Aug 17, 2017 13:58 IST