HMD Global surprised the smartphone industry with the recent announcement of their own smartphone brand. I reached out to Nokia, and the company responded positively by wishing HMD the best in their multi-brand strategy.
We wish HMD Global every success in their transition to a multi-brand strategy.
However, many questions remained unanswered, so I contacted HMD to gather more information (bolded later in the text). Jean-Francois did share a lot of information in his LinkedIn statement, although some details needed to be inferred. It was clear from recent intellectual property filings at EUIPO that HMD had plans in this direction, primarily related to the company’s brand name. Additionally, the financial challenges of 2022 prompted HMD to undergo restructuring. Furthermore, the licensing deal with Nokia has just over two years left before it expires, allowing for only three or at most four more Nokia phone announcements.
HMD has accumulated substantial financial resources over the past few years, and many of these obligations need to be addressed, suggesting that HMD intends to remain in the business. They have also established strong logistics with partners, conducted software and hardware research and development, and undergone significant workforce changes during their ten years in the industry.
One noteworthy aspect I didn’t find in the statement of HMD’s CEO is that when Nokia mentioned a multi-brand business in its statement, it didn’t necessarily imply Nokia and HMD phones. HMD’s spokesperson informed me that the new multi-brand strategy would encompass an HMD original product range, alongside Nokia phones and those from other partners. This is intriguing, as it raises questions about which partners will collaborate with HMD Global.
HMD’s decision to launch a new brand aligns with the growth potential in the European market, with Canalys projecting a 7% sales growth in 2024. This presents an opportunity for HMD to become one of the few European smartphone manufacturers. To capitalize on this, they should aim to release a phone as soon as possible. Typically, it takes about a year to develop and thoroughly test a phone before its announcement, suggesting that HMD’s first phone could be unveiled within the next month or so.
HMD expressed enthusiasm about establishing an original HMD brand and has been diligently shaping the company’s future direction. They have indicated that we can expect the first product announcements in the coming months.
Regarding their strategy, I inquired whether they plan to follow a similar approach as with Nokia devices or if they intend to introduce more sophisticated offerings. HMD’s spokesperson provided a general response, emphasizing their intention to stay ahead of market trends by designing a more sustainable and affordable future for both consumers and the telecommunications industry. Their focus includes repairability, sustainability, and the continuation of feature phones, which have been well-received among consumers and businesses. These initiatives will serve as a foundation for building momentum for the new HMD brand. HMD will also continue to prioritize creating exceptional user experiences.
In addition to the exciting HMD-branded portfolio, the company is working on several inspiring projects and collaborations centered around sustainable technologies and outstanding user experiences. This could potentially lead to the development of new accessories by HMD.
While all these plans may indicate business as usual, I reserve judgment until I see the new products. One suggestion I would make is to keep the number of devices relatively low and concentrate on offering three devices that provide a seamless experience within their respective price ranges.
The new brand logo is being used already on the hmdglobal website.