HMD Global’s new Nokia X20 smartphone.
Ryan Browne | CNBC
LONDON – The company behind the Nokia brand updated its smartphone series on Thursday with a number of new budget models, as it struggles to compete with established players such as Samsung and Apple.
Finnish startup HMD Global has been licensed to design and sell Nokia handsets since acquiring the telecom group̵
On Thursday, the company announced six new smartphones. They are divided into three different series: X, which is at the top of the series in terms of prices and specifications; G, which is slightly cheaper than X; and C, which is the cheapest of the bunch. Prices start at 75 euros (89 dollars) for the Nokia C10, while the Nokia X20 is the prominent device for all six, and sells for 349 euros, or about 415 dollars.
For that price, you get a 6.67-inch screen, four cameras on the back with a 64-megapixel main lens, and the ability to connect to super-fast 5G internet. X20 and cheaper X10, priced at 309 euros, are both powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 480 5G chipset, run on Google’s Android operating system and come with a three-year security updates, as well as a three-year warranty – one year more than offered by G- and C- series.
The X20 also has a “dual sight” feature that allows you to use two of the phone’s cameras simultaneously to capture different angles from a shot.
Uses the dual vision camera feature of the Nokia X20.
Ryan Browne | CNBC
It does not include a charger in the box for sustainable reasons, and arrives instead with a fully compostable case. The phone will be shipped in Europe next month, while availability in the US has not yet been revealed.
Nokia has struggled to gain a significant foothold in the smartphone market due to fierce competition from Apple, Samsung and Chinese players such as Huawei and Xiaomi. This is a problem that are manufacturers like Sony and LG. The latter, once a top Android brand, said it would end the smartphone market earlier this week.
“I think it will continue to be very difficult for (Nokia) to compete in the highest portfolios on the market – that’s why they are now targeting lower price bands,” Francisco Jeronimo, Vice President of European Units at Market Research firm IDC, said: CNBC.
“On the other hand, they have worked quite hard to penetrate the B2B (business-to-business) market, which is a very good opportunity for them because there are not many players offering an attractive portfolio.”
Nokia-branded smartphones accounted for just 0.6% of the market last year, according to IDC data, and sent fewer phones than LG and China’s Honor. However, HMD has performed well in functional telephones – also known as “stupid telephones” – with a share of 16% of the market in 2020.
HMD hopes to branch out to corporate sales and new services to find other sources of revenue. The company, which is financially supported by Nokia, Google and other major investors, launched a SIM card with global data roaming called HMD Connect last year. It managed to break even after prioritizing online sales in the coronavirus pandemic.
HMD is also launching a new mobile network in the UK called HMD Mobile. It will act as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, which means it will have to rely on another telecommunications company’s network infrastructure. Packages start from £ 6.50 ($ 9) per month. It does not start with 5G right outside the bat, but the company said they are working to make the service “5G ready.”