Nokia has finally launched its first set of Android smartphones in India. The Nokia 3, the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 6 have been launched at Rs 9,499, Rs 12,899 and Rs 14,999 respectively. Now, if you go through the spec sheets, none of them are chartbusters. In fact, the most affordable of them all, the Nokia 3 is powered by a MediaTek chipset, which is almost considered blasphemy in Indian tech circles. And both Nokia 5 and 6 carry the age old Snapdragon 430 with 2GB and 3GB RAM respectively.
Indeed, the current smartphone darlings in India, the Xiaomi Redmi 4 and Redmi Note 4, eat the Nokia lineup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Redmi 4 carries the newer Snapdragon 435 chipset, and for Nokia 3’s pricing, it comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage. The old favorite, Redmi Note 4, carries a much more powerful processor, the Snapdragon 625 along with 3GB of RAM for Rs 10,999
Absolutely, no match. Right?
Well, there’s a reason why a British politician famously said that there were these kinds of lies: “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” For, Nokia is not even in the game with Xiaomi. They probably know it is impossible to fight the Chinese company on price. As our editorial mentor wrote a few weeks back, Nokia is fighting on the design. And Brand value. And better service. And faster Android updates.
Except for the design, which is debatable, Xiaomi isn’t known well for the rest of the things.
This is why I think Nokia is more of a threat to the likes of Moto, Samsung, Oppo and Vivo, more than Xiaomi. Considering that Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 will be offline exclusive, Nokia is filling a huge vacuum in the Rs 10,000 – Rs 15,000 segment where online exclusive brands like Xiaomi and Honor rule the roost.
Nokia is promising the following things:
- Made in India phones
- ~400 exclusive distributors all over India
- 80,000+ retail reach
- Pickup & drop service in 100+ cities
- web chat and call support
- Service centers in 300+ cities
- Latest Android and faster updates
Read the subtext here: Nokia is looking to strike at the Achilles Heel of many of the affordable smartphones out there – availability and after sales support. It may not have the specs to go toe to toe against some of its rivals, but unlike them, it comes with a reassuring brand name and judging by what we have heard today, a solid support system.
Yes, this is more HMD Global than Nokia. So we can’t be sure if we can expect the old Nokia type of customer support. But considering that the team heading HMD (Nokia India) is practically same as old Nokia, we can bank on them to get the logistics right. Indeed, even if the after sales does stumble, consumers are more likely to be patient with an “old reliable” like Nokia than a relatively new upstart.
“We are not into the megapixel or gigahertz race,” Pekka Rantala, CMO, HMD Global declared at the launch. Some might dismiss that as a cliche but methinks he gave us a glimpse of Nokia’s strategy in India.