After years of anticipation, Nokia is finally back in the smartphone game.
To little fanfare, the Finnish technology company HMD Global (HMD) Sunday unveiled the Nokia 6, a mid-range Android smartphone for the Chinese market. HMD owns the rights to use Nokia’s brand on mobile phones.
The Nokia 6, which runs the newest version of Google’s mobile operating system, Android Nougat, sports a 5.5-inch full HD (1920x1080 pixels) display. With metal on the sides and a rounded rectangular fingerprint scanner housed on the front, the Nokia 6 seems reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S7.
The new Nokia smartphone is powered by a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor and will compete with the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy A series models and other mid-end smartphones. The smartphone is manufactured by Foxconn.
HMD doesn’t seem hurried about its global ambitions. The Nokia 6 will exclusively sell in China through ecommerce giant JD.com, it said Sunday. The smartphone is priced at 1,699 CNY (roughly $250). HMD says it will launch more products in the first half of this year.
Other features of the Nokia 6 include a 4GB of RAM, and 64GB internal storage. The Nokia 6, which also houses dual amplifiers capable of delivering louder sound, features a 16-megapixel phase detection auto focus camera on the back and an 8-megapixel selfie camera on the front.
"China is the largest and most competitive smartphone market in the world," the company said in a press note, justifying why its long-anticipated smartphone is limited to the Chinese market. "Our ambition is to deliver a premium product, which meets consumer needs at every price point, in every market."
The Nokia 6 was expected to be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress, the four-day trade show scheduled to start on Feb. 27. But an early launch could help the company capitalize on the Chinese New Year, according to Tarun Pathak, senior analyst at research firm Counterpoint.
Many wanted to see a high-end smartphone from Nokia, but its decision to go with a mid-end device is strategic, Tarun told Mashable. "Nokia would like to target mid-end segment where Chinese players are more dominant and try leverage its brand equity in that segment," he said.
"Interestingly the price point of Nokia 6 is very close to the average selling price offered by the top three Chinese players," he added. The mid-end smartphone market is growing 12 percent year-on-year, according to the research firm.
Once dominant in the global cellphone market, Nokia couldn’t keep pace with iPhone and Android smartphones. The company instead relied on Microsoft’s mobile operating system Windows Phone, and later got acquired by the company.
Under Microsoft, the relevance of Nokia smartphones further diminished with Windows Phone-powered smartphones struggling to gain traction. Last year, the Redmond giant let go of the remaining Nokia employees and all but shut down its smartphone business.
Now at HMD, Nokia begins a new chapter in its 150-year history.