Nokia is back with a slew of new gen devices though the question uppermost in most minds is whether it will be able to wrest its crown back in India.
The re-emergence of Nokia in the smartphone segment is no doubt a great piece of news, more so for hard-core fans of the company. Unfortunately, the same might not be applicable to their comeback devices, which clearly seems to be a case of too little, too late.
While the new gen Nokia seems to tick most if not all the right boxes, it falls well short of the competition, particularly when taken in the Indian context. What could make Nokia’s comeback efforts even more tricky is the deluge of competitive handsets from Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei, Xiaomi and such all of which excel at making available feature rich mobile at rock-bottom prices.
Let’s start with the most advanced of Nokia’s latest launches, the Nokia 6. With a 5.5-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 430 SoC, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of native storage, the device do sound great. That is not all as the Nokia 6 also appeals with its 16MP rear camera and an 8MP front shooter as well as its rather generous 3,000mAh power source. Not to be missed, the Nokia 6 also comes pre-loaded with Android 7.0 Nougat right out of the gates and boasts of a full metal construction.
All of it does make the Nokia 6 a great device except its pricing, which at 299 Euros or INR. 21,000, pegs it at a segment that have devices with far better specs. Take for instance the Asus Zenfone 3 laser that too comes with an SD 430 chip but features a 4 GB RAM along with a bigger 5.5-inch full HD display while still being priced at around INR. 20,000.
Even the slightly older Xiaomi Mi5 (launched in April 2016) offers superior specification which includes SD 820 Kyro chip, 3 gigs of RAM and 16 gigs of ROM. It comes with 5.2-inch of full HD display along with 20MP/8MP rear and front cameras respectively along with a 3100 mAh battery. The Mi5 can be bought for a slightly higher INR. 23,000 range.
The Lenovo Z2 Plus too makes a great buy as it comes powered by an SD 820 chip while being priced a measly INR. 15,000 for the 32 GB variant and INR. 14,500 for the 64 GB version.
The Nokia 5 with its price tag of 180 Euros is supposed to be the mid-ranger among the three new devices HMD Global has come up with. However, the price translates to around INR. 12,700 which puts it in one of the most competitive mobile segments in the country.
For that much of money, the Nokia 5 offers a 5.2-inch HD display, Snapdragon 430 Octa-Core SoC, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of onboard storage. Then there is also a 13MP rear shooter complete with phase detection auto-focus and dual tone LED flash along with an 8MP front cam.
Connectivity options with the Nokia 5 include Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, and GPS while power comes from a 3,000mAh battery. The device also boasts of Android Nougat as the pre-installed OS.
So far so good though unfortunately for the Finnish company, the competition seems to have something better to offer. That includes the Redmi Note 4 priced at around INR. 13,000 and comes with 4 GB of RAM along with 64 GB of storage. Then there is also the Honor 6X which too is priced INR. 13,000 but offers a dual rear cam, something that otherwise is restricted to only high-end devices.
The rest of the Honor 6X specifications include a 5.5-inch full HD display, Kirin 655 octa-core chip in configurations of 3 GB or 4 GB RAM and 32 GB or 64 GB of storage options.
Another area where both the Nokia 6 and Nokia 5 might run into some adversity is its perceived incompatibility with Reliance Jio’s VoLTE network. With Jio membership already having crossed the 100 million mark, it is imperative for the new breed of Nokias to be VoLTE ready if it really wishes to make a mark in India that come to be adjudged to be among the fastest growing smartphone market in the world.
What should be further worrisome for Nokia is that its competitors already conform to VoLTE standards, which makes it imperative for the Finnish brand to hit the ground running in the country.
Meanwhile, HMD Global is expected to launch the latest Nokia mobile in India in June. Exact prices aren’t known though those could be lower than expected considering that those will be manufactured locally at Foxconn’s facilities under the government’s ‘Make in India’ program. The price sensitive market that India is, it is imperative Nokia gets its pricing right if it wishes to get anywhere close to its erstwhile status of being the king of mobile business in the country. Brand loyalty does play a part but won’t be enough to make a dent in the segment that currently is dominated by a clutch of Chinese manufacturers.