Nokia is back with Android phones, but will the fans return?

The Finnish former giant has released a line of beautiful devices with meh-degree specs, but the star of MWC17 might just be the new (old) 3310

Nokia
Happy days ahead for Nokia?

Rewind a few years, and this would have been one of the biggest launch events of the year, with millions of fans eagerly waiting to see what the mighty Nokia had up its creative sleeve. But this is 2017, and Nokia is no longer the mobile phone powerhouse it once was.

But that isn’t stopping the company from dreaming of a return to the big leagues. At its press event today, Rajeev Suri, President and CEO of Nokia, admitted that the current brand — owned by HMD Global — is mostly a B2B company. But it wants to get closer to consumers and kick-start a new era with a series of “human-centric” phones.

So does the resurgent brand have what it would take to challenge the likes of Samsung or Apple? First, the bad news. If you, like us, were hoping for a Galaxy or iPhone-killer from Nokia — the mythical P1 smartphone that the rumour mills were buzzing about — well, that model was sorely missing in action.

The Nokia 6: beautiful on the outside, mediocre on the inside

Instead, the company announced three phones that failed to blow our socks off. Its China-only Nokia 6 — which sports a 5.5-inch FHD display — will now go global. And joining it will be the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 3, with 5.2 and 5-inch displays respectively. The Nokia 6 will also come in a special edition with 64GB storage and a piano-black glossy finish. This will retail for 299 (about Dh1,161), while the regular 32GB version will go for 229. Meanwhile, the Nokia 5 will come in four colours and retail for €189. The Nokia 3 sits at the bottom with a pricetag of €133.

During the launch, Nokia focused on the beautiful screen and how the Gorilla Glass layer had been laminated onto the display. And yes, the back has been painstakingly carved from 6000-series aluminium and polished five times over. On the software front, the phone comes with Nougat and Google Assistant baked in. Moreover, Nokia has promised a “pure Android” experience that is secure and up to date.

Nokia 3

But missing from the presentation was any talk of the specs or performance benchmarks. Digging through the website solves that mystery — there isn’t much to talk about here! The Nokia 6 and 5 use Snapdragon 430 processors, while the former has 3GB RAM and the latter a mere 2GB. The Nokia 3 cuts it further down to a MTK 6737 processor, 16GB storage and 2GB RAM. Full specs are available here — but lower your expectations before checking them out!

Nokia 5

The three phones will be launched globally in the second quarter, and Nokia clarified that every region will get it at the same time.

Nokia also used the event to talk about its Ozo VR camera — in fact, the camera was used to stream the event in 360-degree VR on YouTube. The company also highlighted its acquisition of Withings, a brand known for smart scales and fitness gear. All its products, including the Health Mate app, will be brought under the Nokia brand.

Nokia 3310 returns, slimmer and with a colour screen and camera

Last but certainly not least, the company tipped a hat to its nostalgic fans by bringing back the classic Snake game, which was a big hit on its old phones. You can play it via Facebook Messenger. Moreover, the company has revisited its iconic 3310 model — the new avatar has ten times the battery life and comes in a range of colourful colours. The phone includes the Snake game and the distinctive Nokia ringtone. As Arto Nummela, CEO of HMD Global, noted, “Fans have asking for it. We decided let’s have fun!”

Indeed, if the sales figures of the Android phones turn out to be disappointing, Nokia’s new owners can always pull out the 3310 and have some fun playing Snake.