One of HMD Global’s key advantages remains the Nokia name. There is a lot of love for the brand, especially in Europe and the BRIC territories. Licencing the Nokia name for its smartphones gave it credibility with the critics and recognition from the public. That was enough to get the handsets on the same comparison charts as the likes of Apple, Samsung, and HTC, but for Nokia to stay there, the Finnish start-up needs to continually prove that it is worthy of being there.
That answer, at least for me, lies in its approach to keeping Android up to date through the new versions of the OS and the monthly security updates.
The Android-powered Nokia handsets are all running as close to a ‘pure’ version of Android as possible (the dual-lens camera requires custom software, as does the split screen video using forward and rear lenses). HMD Global has stated that the current range of handsets, currently launching with Android 7.1.1, will be updated to the eighth major version of Android – Oreo – as quickly as possible.
In addition, these handsets will also be upgraded to the ninth version of Android, Android P.
That long-term commitment to support will have been noted by industry watchers, and while it may not directly translate to many sales, it increases the confidence in HMD Global’s plans. Nokia was always seen as a reliable manufacturer in the first flush of smartphones, and maintaining that reputation in today’s competitive environment is a must.
Of course these updates may take some time to filter through, so it’s HMD Global’s implementation of the monthly security updated to Android that have carried the flag of ‘we’re on your side’ to consumers. This month’s patch is already rolling out to Nokia devices around the world. This is after September’s security patch was applied to the Nokia devices ahead of Google’s own Pixel devices, and the timely arrival of October’s patch. That’s three patches for the last three months, an impressive strike rate that the geekerati are taking note of.
While HMD Global is cagey about first year sales, it is building up a reputation for long-term support and a consumer-focused approach. That will stand it in good stead as it gets ready to embark on its second year of public sales.