While big name phone-makers such as LG, Samsung, Huawei, and Sony had scheduled their keynotes at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, all eyes were on the old boys, Nokia and BlackBerry. The two giants once dominated the mobile market across the globe, then fell hard and disappeared, and are now trying to stage a comeback.
In the past, HuffPost India has written on just why these once mighty companies crumbled, missing out on the app and the ecosystem race. Both chose the wrong operating systems and had to cede the mobile space to newer and stronger players.
Last year, Blackberry declared that it will stop producing smartphones altogether. But to keep the brand alive, they contracted the manufacturing and design to TCL, while working on the software and security part themselves. The company took the decision after its first attempt at Android phones, the BlackBerry Priv, failed in the market. The phone was well built and praised by critics but couldn't make a mark because of high pricing.
Working with TCL, Blackberry then produced a couple of mid- to high-range secure Android phones, the DTEK50 and DTEK60. Both the phones were targeted towards professionals who wanted the power of Android with a layer of Blackberry security.
Its latest offering, the BlackBerry KEYone, has been designed by the Blackberry in-house team and manufactured by TCL. The company is betting on the iconic keyboard and a solid design to sell the phone to its loyal customer base. But the $549 price tag is likely to make many among them think about other options. The KEYone is a hard sell on nostalgia.
Nokia, which was among the most loved and trusted brands worldwide, lost its ground by choosing Microsoft's Windows platform. After entering into partnership with the Redmond-based tech giant in 2011, the company was sold to Microsoft in 2014. Later in the year, Microsoft announced that it will drop the Nokia name from the phones.
A non-compete agreement prevented the Finnish firm from producing any phones until the end of 2016. But now, in partnership with HMD Global, the brand back in the smartphone game. This time, it has chosen the Android platform. The Nokia 6 was launched in China in January and the response has been immense.
Yesterday, Nokia launched three Android smartphones — the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 — all in the affordable pricing range. While no global reviews for the new devices are available as yet, first impressions suggest that these smartphones are as sturdy and reliable as the Nokia phones of the past. The devices will be available in the market in the second quarter this year.
For the Indian market, Nokia and HMD Global will have to work on offline sales and compete with the Chinese brands which have concluded a stellar year in India.
But Nokia is still a popular brand in India and the Indian user here is open to trying out new phones. Should the company make enough units available for the local market, the possibility of achieving good sales is high. The smartphone market has truly heated up with the return of the legends.