Updated 06:32 AM PHT Mon, February 27, 2017
(Reuters) — The newly revitalized Nokia phone business is going back to the future to re-introduce a brightly coloured version of the best selling phone of 2000, which analysts hailed as a smart retro gambit but one which could overshadow its re-entry into the smartphone market.
Finnish network equipment maker Nokia, which has licensed its phone and tablet franchise to HMD, a new company led by ex-Nokia executives and backed by Chinese electronics giant Foxconn, is betting that the revived devices business can help it make a fresh start in the smartphone market.
HMD and Nokia on Sunday announced a new, widely anticipated version of its classic 3310 talk and text phone with bigger screens and priced at just 49 euros, while also reentering the global smartphone market with four moderately priced models ranging from 139 to 299 euros.
Industry analysts say the 3310 has the makings of one of the hit electronics products of 2017, appealing to a vast resovoir of older Nokia fans in developed markets looking for an antidote to smartphone overload that also appeals to younger crowds in emerging markets.
"Really it's from the heart, we have had so many consumers asking for bringing back some of the Nokia icons and the early 3310 certainly one of them and we had the most excitement around this," HMD President Florian Seiche said at a media preview event in London on Friday. "We have actually exceeded many of the previous KPI's. It offers 22 hours talk time and one month of stand-by time and you can still play snake."
Seiche said Nokia's new smartphone line which includes the Nokia 6, Nokia 5, and Nokia 3 has a very "unique take on Android."
Nokia also released a limited edition version of the Nokia 6, the Nokia 6 Arte Black Limited Edition, unveileing a total of four smartphones in Barcelona.
With 64GB storage and 4GB RAM, this special edition combines the best features of the Nokia 6 family in a stunning black high gloss package and will retail at an average global retail price of €299.
The standard Nokia 6 retails around 229 euros.
"We actually bring to consumers all this smartphone range on pure Android. We have no pre-loads. We give the consumers the choice to customise the content on their phone, we marry with the best Google services and we promise monthly security updates and regular software updates, something that has never been enabled for consumers in the industry so far," he said.
Nokia was the dominant maker of mobile phones in pre-smartphone era but missed the switch in public tastes to touchscreen smartphones following the introduction of Apple Inc's iPhone a decade ago. Nokia sold its ailing handset business to Microsoft Corp for $7 billion in cash in 2014, only to retreat from the phone business a few years later. Nokia regained control of its surviving feature phone business and licensed its patents to HMD late last year.
The original 3310 sold 126 million phones, the 12th best selling phone model in history. Nine of the top 12 selling models were produced by Nokia.