The launch of Nokia 6 this past weekend was like the icing on top for technology enthusiasts satiated by the gadgets and tech on display at the Consumer Electronics Show 2017 in Las Vegas in the first week of the year. The new Nokia 6, said to be the first of many Nokia Android phones in the offing, was announced without much fanfare - a simple release on the HMD Global website heralded the first of the much awaited Nokia Android phones, though the spirits of many a Nokia fans were dampened with the new Nokia 6 smartphone being a China-exclusive.
Nokia 6 offers to the eagerly waiting fans of the Nokia brand a 5.5-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 430 chipset paired with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, 16-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front camera, fingerprint sensor, 3000mAh battery, and Android 7.0 Nougat. Pretty standard fare for a mid-range smartphone, right? This is exactly why HMD Global - the company with the exclusive licence to sell Nokia-branded smartphones - may find it difficult to achieve success if the rest of the Nokia Android phones are developed along similar lines, despite the venerated Nokia brand.
The Nokia 6’s internals can be very well compared to Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and Redmi 3s Prime, Lenovo K6 Power. Bear in mind that that these phones cost many thousand rupees less than the Android-powered Nokia 6’s selling price in China (which roughly translates to Rs. 17,000), though the Nokia 6 India price is unlikely to be announced since it’s meant to be China-only smartphone.
It’s not just us who’ve made these comparisons. If you were to look at comments about the Nokia 6 flowing online, many others are making these comparisons too. At the time of writing this, our news story of the Nokia 6 launch had collected a fair share complaints of it being too expensive. The Snapdragon 430 chipset used in Nokia 6 is typically found in Android smartphones priced under Rs. 15,000 and below. And around that Rs. 17,000 mark, Android-based smartphones suc as the Lenovo Z2 Plus or LeEco Le Max 2 are available with top-of-the-line Snapdragon 820 chips.
Not to say that HMD Global is alone in taking this approach with the Nokia 6 - the recently launched Moto M comes to mind, which is comparable to the Nokia 6 in terms of feature-set, design, specifications, and price. HMD's new Nokia 6 smartphone boasts of high craftsmanship and the use of premium materials like 6000 series aluminium, the same used in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus from 2014. It’s probably fair to mention that the bendgate issue of the iPhones was supposedly fixed with the use of higher-grade 7000 series aluminium in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus onwards. Moving on, the Nokia 6’s 2.5D glass too nicely curves around the edges, similar to the new iPhone models or the OnePlus 3T.
But based on what we’ve seen of the Nokia 6 so far, it appears as if its maker is banking highly on Nokia’s brand value, and offering only design as reason for users to choose it over the others. In the world of low-cost Android phones, value-for-money is king and we think a fair share of people are going to look past the fabled Nokia name on the box - at this price point design is unlikely to be a big enough disruptor.
If HMD Global’s Nokia really wants to make a comeback and capture market share, instead of being just a me-too player, it really needs to be more competitive with pricing. Here’s hoping it can calibrate its pricing strategy better before the Nokia-branded Android phones land in Indian later this year.