Nokia launches its Android trio in India and it is banking on offline sales
Nokia, the iconic brand everyone born in the 90s remembers, is back with a bang. Nokia's trio of smartphones, which launched on 13 June in New Delhi, isn't going to bowl you over with their specifications. Neither are they going to tempt you with their super competitive pricing. Instead, Nokia's new smartphones have two very important factors going for it.
First, the Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 will be offline exclusive, a big USP in the Rs 10,000-15,000 price bracket. Smartphones in this price bracket are missing in the offline market. Second, all three smartphones are coming with near stock versions of Android and a commitment to monthly security updates - something most manufacturers don't do.
HMD Global, a Finnish company that owns the license to sell and manufacture smartphones under the Nokia brand name, has launched the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 in India. They are priced at Rs 9,499, Rs 12,899, and Rs 14,999 respectively. Nokia 3 will be available starting 16 June, while the Nokia 5 will be available come 7 July, and the Nokia 6 will retail a week later on 14 July.
While Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 are offline exclusives, the Nokia 6 is an Amazon exclusive. HMD Global said that they have 400 exclusive distributors and the devices will be available in more than 80,000 retail stores all across the country.
Furthermore, the company is pledging an after-sales service that is up to global standards. Nokia Mobile Care services centres will come up in over 300 cities, with pick-up and drop facilities in 100 of them. There will also be the web, chat, and call support available. Each and every one of the Nokia phones sold in the country (including the 3310) will be 'Made in India'.
The Nokia 3 is powered by a MediaTek chipset, something that is a no-go for most prospective smartphone buyers in India. The Nokia 5 & 6 come with an outdated Snapdragon 430 processor with a meagre 2GB and 3GB of RAM respectively. Xiaomi's Redmi 4, that launched last month, comes with a Snapdragon 435 processor. Even the older Redmi Note 4 from Xiaomi carries a Snapdragon 625 processor.
Each of the phones come with a fingerprint sensor. They all run the latest Android version, Android Nougat, and will be getting Android O faster than most other companies. They've also brought back the tune that everyone recognises in an instant.
What Nokia is banking upon is design, brand value, and better after-sales service. The design and looks of the smartphones, at least at first glance, is simply gorgeous. The phones look classy, they seem sturdy, and they have the very recognisable 'Nokia' logo on the back.
Nokia knows it's futile to compete with Chinese companies on price, as they have the manufacturing muscle that the Finnish company simply doesn't. Nokia also knows that it can sell its products, at least in the initial stage, purely on nostalgic value. Couple that with the promise of faster updates and a commitment to regularly releasing Android updates and suddenly the company actually stands a chance.
Nokia has got its old band back together (post the Microsoft Lumia downfall) and all signs point to it being a success. In the short term, Nokia has the one killer feature that others don't – nationwide offline availability. That alone should be enough to prop up its sales. Whether or not it can sustain itself, in the long run, is a question that only time can answer. An answer that will depend on whether Nokia remains as dependable, both in hardware and life expectancy, as it was in the golden era of the company.