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Can Nokia Succeed Again?

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It has been many years since the once-upon-a-time giant company has been anywhere near the top 5 phone manufacturers! Nokia used to rule the market before the era of smartphones and was the go-to device for the majority of people on our planet.

Their main brand strength, was the durability of their phones and their very reasonable prices. Nokia were so reliable, that they made it into various memes about Nokia surviving virtually anything.

Recipe to disaster:

The first signs of decline appeared during the introduction of smartphones and especially full screen phones with Android & iOS. Nokia was very unprepared for what was about to happen.

Apple paved the way for full-screen smartphones with a very fluid and intuitive OS that was leaps ahead than anything in the market. Android soon caught up and became a direct competitor to iOS! Android’s advantage was the open-source nature of its OS that allowed any phone brand to use it for free.

It was well into 2009 that Nokia decided to enter the smartphone market (with models like 5530, 5800, 5230 etc.) using a similar form factor to the rest of the smartphones. By then, they were already lagging behind and other brands such as HTC, Samsung, LG had already established themselves among the popular rivals of the iPhone!

Unfortunately for them, they did not adopt Android (like virtually any competitor of Apple) and decided to go on with their own Symbian OS.

By 2011 they had experimented with Symbian OS and MeeGo (a Linux based OS) but things were not going well. The competitors were steps ahead using their continuously improving Android OS and all its innovative features and apps availability.

Later in that year, in an act of panic, they decided to use a different OS for their phones but again they didn’t go with Android. Instead, they decided to partner with Microsoft and use Windows Phone! Windows became their go-to OS but Symbian OS was also available in some models.

Fast forward to 2013, the company was at a downfall. They were laying off employees, reporting capital losses and loosing market share. That year Microsoft had acquired Nokia’s phone business. In 2014 Microsoft had rebranded the Nokia division and their devices were sold as “Microsoft Lumia“.

By 2016, Microsoft had essentially given up on Nokia and decided to cancel off their production having report less then 1% market share!


HMD Global (a Finnish start-up company by Nokia’s former executives) had purchased the rights for Nokia during 2016. In January 2017, they launched their first device (Nokia 6) finally adopting Android. They even went one step ahead and adopted Android One, which is essentially a stock Android version with priority regarding security and feature updates. Now that was a huge head start!

Fast forward to 2019, Nokia has already launched several models (all of them using Android One) and is progressively gaining market share. See Nokia’s current lineup:


In my opinion, Nokia has a few advantages that can help the brand grow back to its former glory. The following features can set the brand on the way to the top 5 manufacturers.

Like their former reputation, Nokia now builds solid phones using aluminum chassis and can easily be regarded among the most durable phones in the market. The devices have certain weight to them and you can feel the durability when holding one in your hand.

The introduction of Android One, definitely stands out since the brand’s rebirth. Android One assures the user that his device will be among the first to receive all Google’s updates and support (2 years for updates, 3 years for security) while offering a stock Android experience.

Better utilization of hardware:
Due to the lightweight OS that is stripped from bloatware and unnecessary features, Nokia devices are able to perform better than their counter-part model phones with similar hardware specs.

Nokia’s design is minimal with great attention to detail and use subtle colors. Using materials like ceramic coating, glass and various metals, they achieved a great look on their devices while maintaining durability. Also, you can see various gold details in phones such us Nokia 7 Plus that give it a premium feel.

Nokia has a huge fanbase of several millions on Social Media! Many of them are nostalgia fans, others are new fans from younger generations. In any case, a large portion of the market is expecting Nokia to do well so they can grab their own Nokia device. Having fans “before” going global, is a huge asset and gives HMD a headstart.

Zeiss optics:
Most of the mid-range and of course flagship models of Nokia come with Zeiss camera sensors which are among the most reputable optic brands regarding their expertise and quality.

HMD is very reasonable on this one. Their flagship Nokia 9 Pureview, is available at €500-€600, which is a great value for money and can easily be compared with more expensive rivals from Samsung, Huawei etc. In addition, you can find mid-range models at around €250-€300.


Not everything is positive about HMD’s new approach to the brand.

Slow pace of new device releases:
Since the release of Nokia 6, waiting for Nokia to release new models is like watching paint dry. HMD seriously lags behind this one and they need to look into it quickly. Competitor brands like Samsung and Huawei release new models virtually every other week.

Poor distribution/availability:
It’s a fact that many regions do not have all the model lineup available for sale. It is known that HMD’s attempt began from Asian markets and slowly expanding the rest of the world, but with this pace the competitors are steps ahead. Brands like Samsung and Huawei (except the US market) have all their lineups virtually everywhere and on time too.

Lack of “funky” lineup:
Nokia’s approach to appears is more formal and typical. They could invest in an additional “funky” series that could appeal to millenials and newer generations using vibrant colours. Huawei is pretty good at this!


Yes, Nokia can return back to its former glory. They have all the tools necessary to climb their way up and their disadvantages can be worked on. They seem to be on the right track and any previous mistakes are seem resolved. Luckily, the brand has many fans around the world that are ready to back up HMD’s attempt to climb the top 5 manufacturers.

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