Nokia D1C and other Android phones may be worth the wait
The anticipation is almost palpable as Nokia prepares for a return to the smartphone market. The company – long relegated to the sidelines as it first stuck to Symbian, then embraced Windows Phone and eventually sold its mobile phone division to Microsoft – is poised for a comeback in an industry that it used to dominate.
Nokia, under its agreement with Microsoft, was not allowed to sell phones under its own brand until the end of 2015. With the lifting of restrictions, leaks have increased over the past year, with at least three Nokia smartphones running Android. be in sight.
And there’s plenty to be excited about based on what the leaks suggest and what we’ve seen of the N1 tablet launched by Nokia early last year.
Mike Wang, chairman of Nokia China’s joint management team, confirmed in August that the company would launch 3-4 devices, but did not give separate numbers for smartphones and tablets. However, reports suggest that two flagship smartphones and a mid-range smartphone are in the works.
Nokia’s upcoming smartphones, tablets and feature phones will be developed and distributed by HMD Global, a company started by former Nokia and Microsoft employees. HMD Global plans to secure the contract for smartphones and tablets manufactured by Foxconn. Interestingly, Microsoft sold its Nokia mobile phone business to a subsidiary of Foxconn earlier this year.
Although Nokia has not released any phones under its own brand, the Nokia N1 tablet seems to be a good indicator of what we can expect from an Android smartphone manufactured by Nokia. The biggest problem for the trio of Android-powered Nokia X phones that Microsoft launched in early 2014 was software-related: Redmond’s version of Google’s mobile operating system was clunky and unpolished, and more of a vehicle for its own applications than software designed with the customer in mind.
On the other hand, Nokia’s Z Launcher, which we saw in the N1 tablet, is smooth, polished and simple to use. Moreover, it brings some software features not seen on other Android devices, such as learning your usage habits to change the apps displayed on the home screen. For example, it can display work-related apps on the default home screen during the day and Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. during the evening, as it learns your app usage habits. It’s likely that Nokia will use a version of the Z Launcher (or maybe something better) in its upcoming smartphones. Maybe it’s the kind of operating system that Nokia phones have long deserved.
The hardware of the upcoming Nokia smartphone looks quite promising, or so the leaks suggest. You can expect high-end features like 2K OLED display, water and dust resistance and Snapdragon 820 processor from the two flagship models which are competitive enough for the high-end market current.
Another factor in the mix is the love for Nokia smartphones across the globe, especially in India. The adulation the brand enjoyed during its heyday persists to this day, though it may have lost some of its shine. But it’s still not too late, especially since Nokia has lost the Microsoft influence that kept it away from the Android ecosystem for so many years.
Price can be a deciding factor for Nokia’s Android smartphones, so hopefully HMD Global management realizes the importance of selling their early devices sensibly. Otherwise, the company might not be able to recover from the snub the market gives it, like what’s happened to HTC over the past three years. And it may be almost impossible for the Nokia brand to recover from such a snub.
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