Before the days of the smartphone, Nokia handsets were amongst the finest in the industry. The Finnish business quickly evolved early cellphone technology hardware to include a better design, such as removing the antenna, and introducing a simpler user interface to make the devices easier for consumers to use. Nokia are also credited with kickstarting the whole phone gaming industry by releasing the Snake game for selected models, giving commuters something else to use so as to avoid making eye contact with other commuters! Nokia’s designs always achieved certain basics: good signal and good voice quality were priorities, and in later years a good camera experience was also important. However, when smartphones started becoming more and more popular, Nokia were already slipping behind. The company were using devices based around the Symbian S60 platform, which itself is based on an older platform. Symbian offered full multi-windowed multitasking but support for modern connectivity was clunky at best. Nokia entered a deal to use the Microsoft Windows platform. Ultimately, the Windows Phone platform was not a commercial success despite Microsoft buying Nokia’s smartphone business, seemingly to ensure that at least one manufacturer was supporting Microsoft Windows on a phone device. And as part of this 2014 deal, Nokia were unable to manufacture and sell phones until late 2016.
We are now in late 2016. Over the last two years we’ve seen a number of leaked Nokia smartphones running variants of the Android operating system. These were prototype or experimental devices not intended for resale but seemed to be showing that Nokia were retaining their smartphone knowledge and had every intention of bringing their iconic devices back to the industry. We’ve also seen a Nokia-branded tablet, built around an Intel chipset and running Android, being released. In the last couple of months we’ve also seen more leaks surrounding Nokia’s next smartphone family with leaked presentations appearing to show devices planned for the immediate future, but when? One such rumoured device is the Nokia D1C, which is believed to be a mid-range model in terms of hardware specification, but to have an impressive-sounding camera. It may be that Nokia are taking the view that hardware specification and numbers are largely irrelevant for today’s devices as long as the handset is a smooth performer, so the device being built upon a lower / mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset may not matter.
A listing for HMD Global has appeared for the Mobile World Congress (MWC) show that starts at the end of February 2017. HMD Global hold the license to sell Nokia smartphones for the next decade and here the story is that HMD Global wouldn’t be at the Mobile World Congress unless they had something to show off – that something being new smartphones, as Nokia have already said! Now there may be other reasons why HMD Global are present at the show; it is possible they wish to keep an industry presence and may not be debuting any devices at this time. It is also possible that Nokia-branded devices will be showcased either before or after the MWC event and that HMD Global’s attendance is more associated with building, or rebuilding, links with carriers from around the world. We will have a much better idea in three months time but for now, all we know is that HMD Global will be present at the event.