Nokia’s Android Phones About Design and Software Updates, Not Just Specifications: HMD Global Chief Product Officer

“When you hold it in your hand, you feel, ‘wow, that feels very solid’ – and then when you [look at] the display or battery life, all of that, we’re delivering all you’re expecting from a Nokia. Those were the things we wanted to get right in the initial range.”

That’s one of the first things Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer, HMD Global tells Gadgets 360 as we meet on the sidelines of the MWC 2017, a day after Nokia’s latest new phones, the Nokia 3, Nokia 5, Nokia 6 Arte Black, and of course, the Nokia 3310 (2017) were unveiled. Saying that the new Nokia phones are competitive on specifications for the price, Sarvikas, a Nokia veteran of 11 years, talks about how attention to detail, build-quality, and timely updates, and not specifications alone, are going to be the real differentiators for Nokia’s Android phones. The exception to this is the rebooted 3310, which Sarvikas describes as “less of a rational product”, adding that that it came straight from the heart.

Talking about the new Arte Black Nokia 6, which has turned quite a few heads at MWC show floor, Sarvikas says that it takes 18 hours to do the anodisation on every unit, which is then we polished 10 times. “The amount of detail and precision engineering that goes into these designs is the most Nokia part of these devices,” he explains.

Moving beyond design, we ask Sarvikas if the company might release variants in different markets where the specifications are bumped up to look good on paper? We’ve seen companies launch phones in India with increased RAM, and we wonder if HMD Global will follow a similar strategy, given we’ve already seen reader feedback about “only” 2GB of RAM in some of the Nokia phones. Sarvikas doesn’t completely rule out the possibility, but it’s clear he doesn’t want to get too drawn into the subject.

“[With Nokia] you’re getting a balanced device that will perform well in every day life,” he says. “Where it makes sense for the consumer [we’ll customise] – and if that’s what consumers believe they want and if there’s actually benefit for them,” adds Sarvikas. “I would have much rather spent that ten bucks (I’m just making up a number, he clarifies) in actually improving the display in a way that’s beneficial for you, than say stepping up the RAM, and the chipset can’t even make use of that.”

“There’s a new generation that’s looking for a more thoughtful approach to technology, to products,” he adds. “What I care about is that we get critical mass of the devices out there, and once you experience the device, you’ll start telling your friends, ‘remember all the things you loved about your Nokia?'”

Sarvikas stresses on Nokia’s “pure Android approach”, and said that customer feedback showed a demand for clean, easy to use, and snappy user interfaces. “The best way to do that is to do the purest form of Android out there,” he says. “It makes it easier to roll out updates and commit to monthly security updates across the portfolio, so we can keep the consumer safe, and also deliver the latest features.” Sarvikas adds that Nokia’s Android phones are guaranteed software updates for two years.

“So for example, the Google voice… the Google Assistant, we are able to bring that to a completely new price point with the Nokia 3, for example,” Sarvikas adds. “Whatever is new on their roadmap, we are really happy to be their eyes and ears out there – the partner who brings it to market and then has the conversation with the consumers, and brings the feedback to Mountain View as well.”

To that end, Sarvikas told Gadgets 360, HMD Global experimented building its own launcher and dialler, but decided not to go ahead with these apps because they didn’t actually benefit the consumer. “I don’t want to do something different for the sake of doing something different,” says Sarvikas. On the other hand, Sarvikas explains, the company felt it was actually adding more value to the user experience by customising the Camera app, for example.

At the same time, Sarvikas also stresses that there was one way in which he believes the Nokia phones stand out from the competition – durability and longevity. “We have this unique arrangement with Foxconn where they are essentially our in-house R&D, [so] we are able to push the limit on material and manufacturing innovation,” he said. To that end, Nokia is also going to provide at least two years of software support, he said. “Nokia is supposed to stand the test of time,” says Sarvikas. “To me it’s very important that we have the longevity part of the device. So for example that’s why we’ve been very cautious about the way we’re charging the phone – some proprietary fast charging solutions absolutely decimate the battery, and that’s not the Nokia way.”

 

Nokia 3:
Nokia 3
NETWORK Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
LAUNCH Announced 2017, February
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2017, Q2
BODY Dimensions 143.4 x 71.4 x 8.5 mm (5.65 x 2.81 x 0.33 in)
Weight
SIM Single SIM or Dual SIM
DISPLAY Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.0 inches (~67.3% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 720 x 1280 pixels (~294 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass (unspecified version)
PLATFORM OS Android OS, v7.0 (Nougat)
Chipset Mediatek MT6737
CPU Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU Mali-T720MP2
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 256 GB
Internal 16 GB, 2 GB RAM
CAMERA Primary 8 MP, f/2.0, autofocus, LED flash
Features 1.12 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus
Video Yes
Secondary 8 MP, f/2.0, autofocus
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
COMMS WLAN Yes
Bluetooth Yes
GPS Yes, with A-GPS
NFC Yes
Radio FM radio
USB microUSB v2.0, USB On-The-Go
FEATURES Sensors Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
Browser HTML5
Java No
– MP4/H.264 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/FLAC player
– Photo/video editor
– Document viewer
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Ion 2650 mAh battery
MISC Colors Silver White, Matte Black, Tempered Blue, Copper White
Price group 3/10

Nokia 5:

Nokia 5

NETWORK Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
LAUNCH Announced 2017, February
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2017, Q2
BODY Dimensions 149.7 x 72.5 x 8 mm (5.89 x 2.85 x 0.31 in)
Weight
SIM Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
DISPLAY Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.2 inches (~68.7% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 720 x 1280 pixels (~282 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass (unspecified version)
PLATFORM OS Android OS, v7.1.1 (Nougat)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8937 Snapdragon 430
CPU Octa-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU Adreno 505
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 256 GB
Internal 16 GB, 2 GB RAM
CAMERA Primary 13 MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
Features 1/3″ sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR
Video 1080p@30fps
Secondary 8 MP, f/2.0, 1.12 µm pixel size
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
COMMS WLAN Yes
Bluetooth v4.1, A2DP, LE
GPS Yes, with A-GPS
NFC Yes
Radio FM radio
USB microUSB v2.0, USB On-The-Go
FEATURES Sensors Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
Browser HTML5
Java No
– MP4/H.264 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/FLAC player
– Photo/video editor
– Document viewer
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery
MISC Colors Tempered Blue, Silver, Matte Black, Copper
Price group 4/10

Nokia 6:

Nokia 6

NETWORK Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
LAUNCH Announced 2017, January
Status Available. Released 2017, January
BODY Dimensions 154 x 75.8 x 8.4 mm (6.06 x 2.98 x 0.33 in)
Weight 169 g (5.96 oz)
SIM Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
DISPLAY Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.5 inches (~70.7% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels (~403 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 3
PLATFORM OS Android OS, v7.1.1 (Nougat)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8937 Snapdragon 430
CPU Octa-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU Adreno 505
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 256 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
Internal 32 GB, 3 GB RAM – Matte Black, Tempered Blue, Silver, Copper
64 GB, 4 GB RAM – Arte Black
CAMERA Primary 16 MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
Features 1.0 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR
Video 1080p@30fps
Secondary 8 MP, f/2.0, 1.12 µm pixel size, 1080p
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes, with stereo speakers
3.5mm jack Yes
– Dolby Atmos sound enhancement
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
COMMS WLAN Yes
Bluetooth Yes
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS
NFC Yes
Radio To be confirmed
USB microUSB v2.0, USB On-The-Go
FEATURES Sensors Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
Browser HTML5
Java No
– Fast battery charging
– MP4/H.264 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/FLAC player
– Photo/video editor
– Document viewer
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery
Stand-by Up to 768 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 18 h (3G)
Music play Up to 22 h
MISC Colors Arte Black, Matte Black, Tempered Blue, Silver, Copper
Price group 5/10

Nokia 3310:

Nokia 3310

NETWORK Technology GSM
LAUNCH Announced 2000
Status Discontinued
BODY Dimensions 113 x 48 x 22 mm, 97 cc (4.45 x 1.89 x 0.87 in)
Weight 133 g (4.69 oz)
SIM Mini-SIM
DISPLAY Type Monochrome graphic
Size
Resolution 5 lines
– Dynamic font size
– Softkey
– Screensavers
– Welcome message
MEMORY Card slot No
Phonebook SIM only
Call records 8 dialed, 8 received, 8 missed calls
– Message templates
CAMERA No
SOUND Alert types Vibration; Downloadable monophonic ringtones
Loudspeaker No
3.5mm jack No
– 6 Ringing tone levels
– 10 Volume levels
COMMS WLAN No
Bluetooth No
GPS No
Radio No
USB
FEATURES Messaging SMS
Browser
Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Games 4 ( Snake II, Pairs II, Space Impact, Bantumi )
Languages 17 for menu, 11 for T9
Java No
– Predictive text input
– Smart messaging
– Calculator
– Voice Dial
– Mobile Chat mode for SMS
– Profiles
– Currency converter
BATTERY Removable NiMH 900 mAh battery (BMC-3)
Stand-by 55 h to 260 h
Talk time 2 h 30 min to 4 h 30
Internal, 1000 mAh Li-Ion (BLC-2)
Stand-by 55 h to 245 h
Talk time 2 h 30 min to 4 h 30
MISC Colors User exchangeable front and back covers
SAR EU 0.96 W/kg (head)
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