Consumer product

HMD Global Takes On Samsung and Apple

Pekka Rantala, who is HMD Global’s  Chief Marketing Officer, has expressed his confidence in HMD’s ability to bring the Nokia brand back to the mobile phone market, saying that it will not take ten years to become one of the top players.

Rantala was a former Nokia employee, and worked for the Finnish company for almost two decades. Afterwards, he joined Rovio, the creator of Angry Birds, as CEO. Rantala and other former Nokia employees formed the private equity-backed company named HMD Global, with a mission to revive the 152-year-old brand. HMD Global soon acquired a ten-year license to sell Nokia phones.

“We were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire and revive one of the greatest consumer brands of all time,” Rantala stated in an interview.

HMD recently launched its first flagship Nokia device, which is the Nokia 8 smartphone. Nokia 8 received positive reviews, with critics describing the device as a “step in the right direction.”

Rantala claims that the company will not capitalize on the nostalgia that the brand induces from users, and says that they are “providing something entirely new.”

Nokia 8 aims to compete with Samsung and Apple in the smartphone market. The phone scores a polished aluminum body, a spatial audio technology which can play music and sounds in multiple directions, and high resolution 5.3-inch screen.

Carl Zeiss, a German optic manufacturer, blessed the phone with 13-megapixel cameras at the back. The new technology named ‘computational photography technique,’ is also employed by competitors such as Apple, Google, and Huawei.  Zeiss and Nokia already partnered to produce camera phones in the US back in 2005.

Nokia 8’s headline feature is claimed to give its users a fresh feel of the brand, as it brags the so-called “bothie.” Basically, this feature gives the phone the ability to take simultaneous photos or videos of people or things in front of and behind the lens. The “bothie” feature is expected to give a new twist to live streaming, video recording, and photo taking.

Nokia 8

“The bothie gives us a rich possibility for storytelling and something that’s completely different,” Rantala said.

Rantala described having the Nokia brand as something that gives them a license to be different, and asserted that they don’t want to “join those smartphone players who just do boring campaigns.”

“The people are bored because marketing wise it is just more of the same right now from celebrity endorsements to focusing on tech and spec,” he added.

He also stated, according to a report, that the company stays “focused on the consumer,” expressing his confidence with the strategy to result in strong sales.

As for inducing nostalgia among its customers, the re-release of the iconic Nokia 3310 was announced earlier this year at Mobile World Congress. The CMO insists that the launch has been successful without divulging any sales figure.

“People are really going for it. Some want it as a primary phone, while the basic phone market is obviously still a huge opportunity to tap into. The truth is we are really well prepared with big volumes and are about to increase our availability.”

Rantala claims that long-term plans have been set up for the Nokia brand which are calibrated not only to inducing nostalgia, but also to giving the brand a package no one else has.

The Nokia brand has a long history going back to when it was founded in 1865. The business started as a maker of almost everything from toilet papers to car tire. In the 1980s, the company moved in to communication technology and dominated the handset market for decades.

However, because of shrinking market share and mounting losses, the company abandoned the mobile handset business several years later.

In 2016, Microsoft, which acquired Nokia in 2014, sold the brand. Foxconn, which is an iPhone manufacturer, acquired the brand through a subsidiary for $350 million. HMD global then bought a 10-year license to manage the Nokia brand in the mobile and tablet markets.

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