Dubai: HMD Global is directly aiming at winning over the mid-range price segment and penetrate the Mideast market by offering Nokia 8 for a lower cost when compared to the US or Europe.
Internationally, Nokia 8 is priced at €599, which converts to Dh2,649 but HMD is selling the Nokia 8 at Dh1,699 in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, 144.9 Kuwait dinars, 177.9 Omani riyals and 184.9 Bahraini dinars.
The Finnish company owns the rights to sell Nokia-branded phones and tablets for 10 years. It develops, builds and sells the phones with inputs from Nokia.
Daniel Gleeson, senior analyst for consumer technology at Ovum, told Gulf News that Nokia 8 is a step away from the direction HMD had been taking with the Nokia brand which was focused on the low- and mid-range of the handset market.
“There is definitely a place for Nokia phones in that segment where the strong Nokia brand gives the phones an edge over relatively unknown Chinese brands. The high end of the market will be much tough for HMD to crack, but a presence there is necessary to maintain the strength of the Nokia brand over time,” he said.
The flagship Nokia 8 is gearing up to take on rivals with high-end specs and features after rolling out Nokia 3, 5 and 6 models.
So far, Gleeson said the impact of Nokia branded phones in the global market has been relatively small, but HMD is still scaling up its operations. Ovum does not expect Nokia to be a top brand in 2017, but 2018 is when the real impact will be seen.
Per Ekman, Vice-President for Middle East and North Africa at HMD Global, said that the company’s ambition is to become the top three smartphone player in the next three to five years.
Gleeson said the long-term success of the Nokia-HMD partnership depends heavily on much technology Nokia is willing to licence to HMD on generous terms and this is most relevant in the premium sector where the Nokia 8 is playing.
He said that having cutting-edge technology is imperative to compete against the likes of Apple and Samsung at the high end and even with Huawei and Oppo in the mid-range segment.
“Nokia seems enthusiastic about the partnership and understands that it needs to continually invest to ensure its brand remains as valuable as it is, so I am optimistic about the long term prospects for the partnership,” he said.
The phone will be launched at the same time as Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Apple new iPhones but Ekman is unfazed and said that Nokia is seen as a credible brand in the industry.
However, Gleeson said that it is unlikely that the Nokia 8 will make a significant dent in iPhone or Galaxy Note 8 sales, but the real competition for the Nokia 8 is OnePlus 5. Both are aiming to be the “value premium” handset.
“We are overwhelmed with the sales of our devices across the world. Over a million people registered for the first Nokia 6 sale on Amazon India. It went out of stock within a few seconds. There is a lot of brand love and emotion around us riding this next chapter,” Ekman said.
“Our proposition is a strong one and doing innovation without gimmicks to solve consumer problems is our strength. The content creators want to share their lives and we are trying to innovate in that space what matters to them,” he said.
Nokia has launched eight models, including feature (basic) phones, in eight months.
“That is a phenomenal launch cadence and we have managed to do. Our product portfolio is expanding and our focus will be in the entire price range. We will stay relevant where the consumers wants us,” Ekman said.