Budget-friendly Nokia 8 out to challenge other flagships
The Nokia 8 during its unveiling at an HMD Global event in Dubai late on Monday. It's only at Dh1,699, but it's definitely no pushover.
Dubai - HMD Global's goal is to make the brand one of the top three players worldwide
Still basking in the glory of putting Nokia back on the mobile map, HMD Global didn't wait that long to make sure - in case anybody missed it - that their message rings through: they mean business.
Nokia's across-the-street neighbour in Finland unveiled the Nokia 8 smartphone in Dubai late on Monday, a true flagship reminiscent of the glory days of the brand when it was the undisputed leader of the mobile world.
And HMD Global is striking hard in an area that is critical with consumers - price; the smartphone will cost only Dh1,699. But while indeed way below the price of other flagships, it comes with top-of-the-line specs that would rival its competitors.
"The Nokia brand is not only for the elite," Sanmeet Singh Kochhar, general manager for the Middle East at HMD Middle East and Africa, told Khaleej Times at the Press conference.
"We start with the consumer; our objective is to bring to them what he or she wants, the right experiences... [which] we believe should be for everyone."
Aside from Qualcomm's latest processor, the Snapdragon 835 - which is also being used in other high-end phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Sony Xperia XZ Premium and HTC U11 - the Nokia 8 has a 5.3-inch WQHD screen with a pixel density of 554ppi (higher than even the Apple iPhone 7 and Galaxy Note 8), 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage.
But its main feature is its dual-lens camera, which has become sort of a craze lately, with companies coming out with their own versions and offerings. For the Nokia 8, all of its camera's lenses - the dual rear and front snappers - have a 13MP resolution each.
But what the phone is promoting is what it calls 'Bothie', which allows a user to capture images with both rear and front cameras simultaneously.
While this is not new because there are apps that offer this function, this is the first time that such a feature is readily available on a smartphone.
Other features on the Nokia 8 are Zeiss Optics and Nokia OZO Audio, another first that gives Hollywood-quality 3D spatial surround sound and 360-degree audio capture and playback.
The device will be on UAE shelves on September 21, while Saudi Arabia will get it on September 24. Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman will follow suit by the end of October.
Kochhar also confirmed that the Nokia 8 is slated to be in the next wave of devices to receive the freshly-rolled-out Android 8.0 Oreo OS later this year.
He added that HMD Global was "very happy" with the response to the Nokia 3, 5, 6 and retro 3310, which were all launched in June. When asked about its next products - given these wave of releases and when particularly asked on the rumoured Nokia 7 and Nokia 9 - Kochhar kept his answer simple.
"We will be releasing devices when we feel we are ready with them," he quipped. "We earlier launched the 3, 5 and 6, and now the 8; we are not going in any particular order.
We are going to launch devices above and below what we have right now."
Nokia, throughout its history, has never launched a device with '4' on its name, owing to respect it has for those who practice tetraphobia, the practice of avoiding the number.
Kochhar, however, stressed HMD Global's primary goal at this point in time: to become one of the top three smartphone players globally.
"We will be launching devices at all price points to meet this objective," he added.
Asked on whether the company intends to revive another Nokia phone from the past just like what they did with the 3310, Kochhar said he could not comment on that at this point in time, but he encouraged people to "stay tuned".
He did, however, have a message to everyone who hasn't forgotten Nokia; told of the nostalgic comments during the live video that Khaleej Times broadcast while at the unveiling, Kocchar assured that they are just getting started.
"We want to tell them. 'hey, thanks for showing your love to Nokia'."