Contrary to all expectations, Nokia is back. His death has been predicted many times, but the erstwhile leader refuses to die.
According to data from Counterpoint Research, Nokia took third place in the fourth quarter of 2017, thanks to cost-effective phones such as the Nokia 3, for smartphones in the UK and Nokia 6. It just sat behind Apple and Samsung.
History makes the revival unlikely. While Apple changed the world of iPhone and Google pumped money into Android, Nokia clung to its obsolete Symbian software until 2013. At this point Symbian did not sink, it was sunk.
Nokia ended up in a similar situation with the ailing Windows 10 Mobile platform. Microsoft bought Nokia in 2014 and quickly scrubbed the Nokia name from its Lumia phones. And then the Nokia smartphones disappeared.
To give you an idea of Nokia's decline, in the second quarter of 2007, there were 50.8 percent of the smartphone market. In the second quarter of 2013, prior to its purchase by Microsoft, it had only 3.1 percent.
It is now mass-market Android phones, what analysts have suggested for almost a decade.
What is HMD?
The change goes back to a company called HMD, founded in 2016. It makes phones under license from Nokia, but their links to the phone manufacturer's past are deeper. Current CEO Florian Seiche was Sales VP at Nokia and assumed a similar role at Microsoft Mobile. Chief Marketing Officer Pekka Rantala worked at Nokia in his glory years. COO Pia Kantola joined Nokia in 1999 and left Microsoft Mobile to start HMD. Almost the entire HMD list of executives reads like an appeal from Nokia luminaries.
HMD is Nokia in everything but names. However, we could compare its activity in 2017 with the revival of BlackBerry. In 2017, BlackBerry partnered with TCL Corporation to manufacture its new phones. And Foxconn's Original Design Manufacturing (FIQ) arm has more impact on phones like the Nokia 3, 5, and 6 than you'd expect.
"[Nokia] Telephones are co-designed by HMD and Foxconn's team, and finally The company is manufactured by Foxconn under its FIH Mobile subsidiary FIH also owns the Nokia factory in Vietnam, which now manufactures mobile phones," says Neil Shah of Counterpoint Research.
"Foxconn (FIH) has the most up-to-date manufacturing expertise with advanced tools, machining capabilities for the production of metal or glass backs, or telephones with newer materials or processes, which is a big plus for HMD compared to Xiaomi or anyone else's merits Foxconn To take advantage of these capabilities, in short, HMD has a number of in-house features that use Foxconn FIH. "Foxconn, not just HMD, has invested heavily in the new Nokia.
How many Nokia phones have been sold?
Despite its apparent success, HMD has not announced Nokia smartphone sales. "None of the products was a disappointment or a failure, but we do not spend any quantities," says HMK Marketing Director Pekka Rantala. So what do we know about where the success comes from?
"HMD has made Huawei the third largest manufacturer of broadcasts in the Channel before Christmas," says Shah. "[This is] According to our quarterly market research, we track shipments of cell phones, smartphones and feature phones and ship in the channels of more than 50 top markets in our database."
Shipments, however, are not sales. "Huawei has promotions and carrier exclusive offerings in mind – Huawei's 5.9 percent sell-through share and HMD's 5.7 percent sell-through share," adds Shah.
HMD reached the third place in the deliveries, but the fourth place in the sales. This remains remarkable. The first smartphones, the Nokia 1, 3 and 6, did not arrive in the UK until June 2017. The success was instantaneous. But how?
HMD's Success Recipe
"Nokia has some brand awareness, even though some of it is in DNA from a buyer's parents and not directly, and while it may not be very cool, it's still well-recognized for solid usability "says Quocira chief analyst Rob Bamforth.
HMD also maximized the 20-year-old warm feelings that many of us have for Nokia with a relaunch of the Nokia 3310 in early 2017. For the layman, the original 3310 was released in 2000 and was the first mobile phone of many people.
In February 2017, the return seemed just another fun product launch. But it was also a viral marketing campaign that anticipated Nokia's smartphone comeback.
The Nokia 3310 reboot received the coverage of mainstream media inter alia in The Mail The Sun and The Telegraph . The expense of the Nokia 3310 may have favored the sale of smartphones, but according to HMD, two-thirds of the people who bought their smartphones in the last quarter of 2017 were 35 or younger. "I am positively surprised by this number," says Rantala.
Nokia phones are everywhere
The continued brand awareness helped Nokia to establish itself virtually and real on the British shelves. You can buy your smartphones from EE, O2, Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile, Argos and Virgin Mobile. Companies like Huawei and his sister outfit Honor have been trying for years to approach such a presence.
"We think HMD worked exceptionally well here to bring the brand back from the dead," says Shah. Although we know nothing about HMD's behind-the-scenes offerings, the ubiquity of Nokia's mobile phones suggests that competitive offers have been made to carriers.
HMD's approach is aggressive. It is also characterized by the more modest pragmatism of a company that recognizes itself as a candidate, not as a world leader.
"HMD, with its partnership with world leader Foxconn, is able to shape its portfolio to the traditional" Nokia build "standards and design language," says Shah. "In addition, HMD has shortened time-to-market through collaboration with Android and working closely with Google."
The company relies heavily on close partnerships. HMD's Rantala describes the company as a "startup" that operates with "agility" but also with the "humility" of a smaller outfit.
HMD and the Future
Where do HMD and Nokia licensee go from here? It should be noted that HMD is located in the same building as the Nokia headquarters in Espoo, Finland, and we are already beginning to see Nokia's new pragmatism as leaked notes suggesting it could relieve his health department
Withings products acquired by Nokia in June 2016. These include hybrid smartwatches and an intelligent balance. Since HMD signed the long-term licensing agreement for the exclusive manufacturer of Nokia-brand mobile phones and tablets outside of Japan in May 2016, most of the existing Withings designs have been redesigned and optimized.
"Instead of just falling in love with our technology, we have to be honest with ourselves," the memo says, announcing the possible completion of the fitness arm. It was written by Chief Strategist Kathrin Buvac and published by The Verge
But also Quocira analyst Bamforth is concerned about the longevity of HMD's current smartphone plan. "There is a decent market for providing the underlying hardware, and IBM has not been working badly with the PC, but there is always a danger of becoming a commodity," he says. "Software, services and apps, or rather the market or ecosystem that supports and encourages them, are a driving force and a differentiator, and Nokia does not lead Android, but Google, and that affects the balance of power in the partnership."  Nokia seems at risk of becoming a vassal unit, a maker of shells in which Android lives. The relationship with Google already seems to be closer than that of other manufacturers.
All but the lowest end of the 2018 HMD smartphone are part of Android One, and Pekala says HMD wants to be the "lead partner of this program". Android One phones use Google's operating system the way it is, with no pre-installed apps or custom interfaces, preventing a manufacturer from putting a punch on the software.
From the perspective of a budget phone buyer, this does not seem to be an unpleasant future. Lower software R & D costs indicate cheaper phones, and this speaks in a world of models that cost up to £ 1,000. The new Nokia 1 costs under 100 euros.
Shah agrees. "Investing in intellectual property as they scale and explore different technologies and materials to integrate them into their future smartphones" should be the next step for HMD, he says. HMD has already acquired patents from Nokia, according to Nokiamob .
There is some evidence of an attempt to further differentiate in HMD's 2018 Nokia phones. They have a pro-camera mode based on that of the Lumia 1020 and an HMD-designed face unlock feature.
HMD's high-end 2018 mobile phones, including the 749 Euro Nokia 8 Sirocco, should be an indicator of whether this is the case enough to attract buyers who are not attracted by the competitive prices of its early smartphones.