Nokia returns to handset market with MWC launch

Jason McGee-Abe
Published on:

The Nokia brand has made its long-awaited return to handsets at Mobile World Congress, launching three new smartphones, and bringing back an old classic

HMD Global, which is licensing the Nokia brand, took wraps off the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 smartphones, whilst also launching a modernised version of one of the most iconic phones ever released; the Nokia 3310.

The Nokia brand had vanished from phones following the Finnish networking giant’s decision to sell off its phone-making division to Microsoft for $7.2 billion in 2013. Microsoft initially kept the Nokia brand, but eventually axed it from its handsets in 2015 in favour of Lumia.

Last year, HMD, which is led by a number of former Nokia executives, announced an exclusive deal to license the Nokia brand for smartphones and tablets. In Barcelona, HMD launched its first handsets using the iconic brand, running on Google’s Android operating system.

The standout from the four phones which the Finnish firm unveiled was perhaps the throwback to Nokia’s heritage, the revamped 3310. The original 3310 was released in the year 2000 and sold around 126 million units, making it one of the best-selling phones of all time. Famed for a long battery life and popular game Snake, the original device is still popular.

The new version boasts 22-hours of talk time and a whole month on standby and is a nod to Nokia’s well-established heritage.

Former Orange director of devices Florian Seiche, who is now president at HMD Global, said: “Strategic and meaningful partnerships are essential to our success, both for the products and manufacturing. Equally we are committed to building the right kind of partnerships at a market level so we can reach and service all of our fans. The encouragement, support and excitement we have felt from the operators and retailers we’ve met globally so far has been humbling.”

Nokia (the original company) praised HMD Global’s approach to using its branding.

Brad Rodrigues, interim president of Nokia Technologies, said: “What HMD has created is remarkable. We’re excited to see the launch of a new family of smartphones, built to the standards that Nokia is known for. We believe that their strong design and quality will appeal to Nokia fans around the world, and the return of the Nokia 3310 has us smiling too!”