Today in China, HMD Global announced their first device from the new Nokia X series, the Nokia X6. But, HMD’s executives also shared some interesting info about the company, including that HMD will open the new R&D center this month. The Nokia Mobile Global Future Lab, as it is being called, will operate in Shenzhen, China. HMD already has an office in China, and HMD’s VP for CEE region Alberto Matrone in an interview said to us that guys there are working 24/7 on new devices. Interesting or not, Huawei’s HQ is Shenzhen and Foxconn’s biggest factory is also there.
The new R&D center will focus on 4 key areas:
Materials and manufacturing processes
Future mobile user experience
Qualcomm already announced that HMD is among the companies that will use their 5G chipsets in upcoming phones, and 5G opens new opportunities to consume media, like via VR or doing mobile gaming with a fiber-like connection. Focusing on new materials and manufacturing process is something, as far as I remember, HMD executive often mentioned, and we see a range of different materials and different manufacturing processes across the whole Nokia portfolio. Future mobile user experience is in my mind the next big thing of interaction with the smartphone. We all know that the touch screen caused a revolution on the market, and all serious companies in mobile are searching for the “next big thing” in human interaction with mobile devices.
Focus on imaging is something all Nokia fans and costumers in general wish for. Nokia was synonym for great cameras, and everyone who follows the tech sector remembers the Nokia 808 PureView, the Nokia Lumia 1020 and other Lumia phones with exceptional cameras in every price category. The new Nokia smartphones don’t excel in camera performance, but the progress from last year is obvious. A R&D lab that will focus on camera is a must!
At the moment, there is no video from the announcement in China, but according to the liveblog at Baidu Nokibar, while announcing the new R&D lab, HMD’s CPO Juho Sarvikas boldly said:” We are talking about imaging research and development and we hope to launch a surprise like PureView technology in the future.” Keep in mind that no proof for this statement is available, but considering that guys from Nokibar forum are mostly on point, we can take this info as legit. Mentioning PureView is by itself ambitious, because it set a high standard that some manufacturers are reaching just now, 6 years after the Nokia 808 PV. (Update: After finding the video, Juho never mentions PureView and the statement made by Nokibar user is probably his hope)
HMD’s team in Shenzhen will coordinate with other R&D HMD teams from Helsinki and London in developing future devices and researching new technologies.
They also mentioned that China is a competitive market, but they are ready to fight the biggest local brands there. We already see a more aggressive strategy with the Nokia X6. The device wasintentionally displayed 2 weeks before the launch to cause as much buzz as possible. It features a “provocative” “feature” like the notch, that Chinese customers love and comes with solid specifications and good pricing. Another post from Nokiabar’s liveblog says that the X series is designed primarily for China and the Chinese market, and we can see that. I don’t believe that the X6 will make its way to the global stage, but you never know. The device that was sacrificed with the Nokia X6 is the new Nokia 6. At a lower or same price, the X6 comes with a better SoC, more memory, in general better specifications and we could argue a more attractive glass design. In my opinion, if the X6 makes its way to the global market, the Nokia 6.1 is dead.
Overall, it seems that folks in China had a quite interesting event there. A new device was announced and HMD shared plans that suggest an increased commitment to the Chinese market. The new R&D center in China will be of much use, because HMD is starting from scratch and they have the opportunity to put all blocks in the right places in an early stage to build a sustainable company. It takes time to do that, and until now the market is patiently waiting for new Nokia products. The next announcement of Nokia phones is scheduled for 29th May in Moscow.