The Resurgence of NokiaThere hasn’t been a brand-name, apart from Apple, as seminal as Nokia in the field of smartphones.
There hasn’t been a brand-name, apart from Apple, as seminal as Nokia in the field of smartphones. Driven by a sense of nostalgia, we’ve lauded the Nokia brand-name even though they haven’t been their former selves for a long time. The internet has created memes out of the iconic Nokia 3310, exaggerating the phone’s robustness. There hasn’t been a brand-name as strong as that of Nokia, and it is because of that quintessential brand-name that Nokia smartphones are still alive and kicking, even though user reception for their phones haven’t been very good.
In 2017, Nokia is making a come-back with a host of different phones under the iconic brand name: the Nokia 6, Nokia 5, Nokia 3 and a nostalgic but revamped Nokia 3310. Nokia has now been acquired by FIH Mobile, a division of Foxconn and HMD, a new company backed by the previous executives of Nokia, which would mean a separation from Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform and an adoption of the more popular Android operating system. Nokia is trying it’s hardest to bank off their brand-name and find a market for phones once again in the crowded smartphone market but will brand-name alone be enough for the resurgence of Nokia?
Nokia, for a long time, has been a very stubborn company. They refused to implement the fast growing Android platform and firmly stayed with their inferior Symbian OS that led to their initial downfall. While people were adopting phones with Google’s shiny new operating system, Nokia and Symbian started failing and following the company’s dwindling market share, they were acquired by Microsoft in 2013. Microsoft also wanted to ride on Nokia’s strong brand-name to popularise their Windows Mobile platform. But this partnership spelled trouble for both companies.
iOS and Android were already too entrenched in the smartphone world that Microsoft had a really difficult time gaining a strong foothold in these markets. Windows Mobile was far too young: they didn’t have as many apps as their competitors and the whole modern design, as pretty as it might look, made it really difficult to developers to develop for Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Furthermore, iOS and Android were already trusted and loved by the general public and it didn’t help that Nokia, an already failing company was bundled with a failing OS as well.
But even during Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia, the company managed to produce great phones applauded for its build-quality and their hip colour-schemes. Users, to some extent, loved the Nokia Lumia series but it was the young Windows Mobile OS that drew many users away from Nokia phones. This further led to the downfall of Nokia and while sales were plummeting, the internet-denizens were making fun of the old Nokia and how iconic their phones were in the past. The young-adults of today definitely owned a Nokia phone before the introduction of smartphones and this nostalgia managed to keep the brand-name alive even as the company was failing in terms of smartphone sales.
But this story is not unique to Nokia alone since Motorola went through a similar period of stagnation but came back with their popular Moto G, Moto X and Moto Z series. Lenovo acquired Motorola in 2014, and made a smart move to actually keep producing phones under the company’s iconic brand-name. While the popularity of newer Moto phones can also be because of their brand-name but primarily, Moto phones found a strong user-base because of the company’s unique design aesthetics and a good balance of performance and price. Motorola understood the modern smartphone market and acted accordingly, producing phones that would appeal to a consumer-base that had increasingly been desensitised to technology. For Nokia to find a foothold in today’s smartphone market, they not only have to produce exceptionally good phones but they need to compete on price as well.
As of today, we don’t really know much about the specifications of the new Nokia phones but as far as what we’ve seen, they’re nothing to ogle at. The Nokia 6 comes with the low-tired Snapdragon 430 processor with 4 GB of RAM which is a strange combination of hardware specifications. While the 430 is a low-end processor, 4GB of RAM is usually associated with more mid- and high-ranged smartphones. And even the revamped Nokia 3310 occupies a unique space in the market today because the basic features of smartphones have turned into necessities today.
It is great that Nokia is making a comeback and that too, by its own accord and without any influence by bigger companies like Microsoft, but just how successful the company will be is yet to be seen. But if Nokia is hoping to make a splash in the smartphone market with sheer brand-name alone, it might not work out well for the company at all. For Nokia to truly make a strong comeback, a unique understanding of their consumers is zeitgeist for the success in the future.