When HMD introduced the Nokia 6 for the Chinese market, a lot of us outside China were a little jealous of Chinese Nokia fans and couldn’t wait to get our hands on a global version when it arrives. Almost six month after the debut in China, we are still waiting for the 6, and latest info suggests we will have to wait a month more.
A lot of Nokia fans and customers who like the phone, what it offers and the price, but live outside China, decided to order their phones from Chinese resellers or local stores that buy the device from the Chinese resellers. Another reason for deciding to buy the Nokia 6 from China is the fact that the China variants come with 4GB RAM instead of 3GB that the global version will have, but the China versions on the other hand don’t have NFC and autofocus on the front camera.
HMD introduced two Nokia 6 variants for the Chinese markets and 2 configurations: Nokia 6 TA-1000 for China and Nokia 6 TA-1003 for Hong Kong and Taiwan; and 4GB RAM with 32GB or 64GB internal memory. The difference between TA-1000 and TA-1003 is that the TA-1003 variant comes with Google services, while the TA-1000 doesn’t have Google Apps and uses a customized Android Nougat that follows the guidance of the Chinese government.
Considering all above, customers outside China have only the options to either order the TA-1000 or TA-1003, and the TA-1003 seems and is the better choice. But, a lot of people end up with the TA-1000 variant as well.
Some buy it because they don’t think about the Google Play support, others buy it because they think it’s the TA-1003, because the reseller said Google Play services are installed. Indeed, there are TA-1000 variants with Google Play store, but no one from the XDA Developer community knows how the stores/reseller managed to install Google Apps on a restricted device.
Potential buyers of Nokia 6 buying the TA-1000 are facing two problems: First problem is the lack of Google apps if the device comes with “stock” Android customized for China, and the second is if the device somehow comes with Google Apps, there is a high chance that TA-1000 won’t receive further updates via official channels.
Call me foolish, but I ordered a Nokia 6 from a local retailer that imported the device from China. The price was right, the store offered legit 2 year warranty, and they said the device supports Google Play services. And my Nokia 6 has all Google services, and at First, I thought it’s the TA-1003, but the about page in settings and the phone’s retail box said otherwise. After researching online, exchanging few emails with HMD’s customer services, and noticing the broken Nokia seal on the box, I came to the conclusion that the person/store who/that sold the Nokia 6 to my local retailer installed the TA-1003 ROM on the TA-1000 variant.
I asked HMD is it possible that some TA-1000 models do come with Google Play, HMD said no. I also noticed the lack of “system update” settings, and after manually searching for it, it shows that my phone is up to date running Android 7.1.1 and April security update. As we all know, Google’s latest security patch is for the month June, but HMD pointed out to me that the TA-1000 doesn’t receive security updates directly from Google, because of government restriction, so it’s normal that the security updates for the TA-1000 come few days or weeks after the TA-1003 or global models. The bad news is that the latest security update from the TA-1000 is the May update, and I’m on April’s. They also said that the TA-1000 variant does not show “system update” option in the section, because of government restritions.
Phones having a custom ROM, like the Nokia 6 TA-1000 with Google Play does, are usually not eligible for further software updates from Google. Or as one of the XDA Developer forum members said to me: “The update will come, but it will fail to be applied,” adding that if all partitions were flashed (such as bootloader etc.) updates should come normally, but if it is only the system that’s flashed, then no.
Down below, you can find the official response from HMD Global answering my question about the phone updates for the TA-1000 with Google Play.
Firstly, we would like to inform you that the Nokia 6 TA-1000 model is the Chinese model which is with restrictions on all Google services, including Google Play, by the Chinese Government. Therefore, It is not possible the use Google Play on those devices. The Nokia 6 which is able to use the Google mobile applications is the TA-1003.
The updates which your specific device has come OTA via different services and not the regular Google Android update channels. These channels are for global distribution and devices that are made for the specific China region market cannot be updated this way. The devices are not only identified via the ROM to google, as there are many more identification items inside a smartphone that may filter the devices to be updated or not. Very often, custom ROMs on any Software platform are not subject to update to official ROMs.
Summa summarum, if you want a Nokia 6, and don’t want to wait till July, please be sure that you are buying the Nokia 6 TA-1003. If you end up with a Nokia 6 TA-1000 with or without Google Play, for getting the Google apps or updates the only thing we can do is wait. The XDA community hasn’t found a method of flashing the TA-1000 yet, and when they do, we will cover it here on NokiaMob. The same goes for the problem with future software updates.