HMD Global

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HMD Global Oy
Osakeyhtiö
(Limited company)
Industry Consumer electronics
Founded 1 December 2016; 21 months ago (2016-12-01)
Headquarters

Building 2, Nokia Campus, Karaportti, 02610 Espoo, Finland[1], Espoo, Finland

Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Florian Seiche
(CEO)
Pia Kantola
(COO)
Anssi Rönnemaa
(CFO and CCO)
Pekka Rantala
(CMO)
Juho Sarvikas
(CPO)[2]
Products Mobile phones, smartphones, feature phones
Brands Nokia
Revenue €1.800 billion (2017)[3]
Number of employees
500+[4]
Website www.hmdglobal.com

HMD Global Oy, branded as HMD, is a Finnish mobile phone company, made up of the mobile phone business that Nokia had sold to Microsoft in 2014, then bought back in 2016. HMD Oy (limited company) began marketing smartphones and feature phones under the Nokia brand on 1 December 2016. The company has exclusive rights to the Nokia brand for mobile phones through a licensing agreement.[5] The company was created by inheriting Microsoft Mobile's feature phone business, which was sold by Nokia in 2014. They are in a "close partnership" with Google and use the Android software on their smartphones,[6] whereas on their feature phones the Series 30+ platform is mainly used.[7] The HMD brand is only used for corporate purposes and does not appear in advertising, whereas the name Nokia Mobile is used on social media.[8][9]

HMD is headquartered in Espoo, Finland, opposite Nokia's head office, and the company is largely run by former Nokia executives.[10] The first CEO was Arto Nummela, a Nokia veteran for 17 years, until July 2017 when President Florian Seiche took over as CEO.[11] Manufacturing is outsourced to Foxconn.[12][13][14] Nokia has no investment in HMD but remains a partner, setting mandatory requirements and providing patents and technologies, in return for royalty payments.[15][16] HMD uses a marketing strategy advertising the Nokia phones as "pure, secure and up to date" (referring to a stock Android interface and its commitment to fast updates) as well as brand trust and nostalgia.[17][18][19][20]

History[edit]

Nokia was a leading global mobile phone and smartphone maker until it began to struggle in maintaining market leadership so that by 2014, it was sold to Microsoft. Nokia's woes, however, further increased since the brand was primarily used on the part of Microsoft as a means to introduce its Windows mobile operating system, which was itself struggling to establish any kind of significant market presence.[21] The range of Nokia devices launched, which were called Windows Phones, did not gain traction in the highly competitive mobile phone industry dominated by Android and iOS devices. There were further internal struggles as Microsoft tried to reconcile the Nokia brand with its own objectives under Microsoft Mobile. By October 2014, Microsoft began dropping the Nokia brand in favour of its Lumia smartphone range and only the feature phone segment kept the Nokia name.[22]

Return to Nokia[edit]

The CEO of Nokia, Rajeev Suri, said in June 2015 that the Nokia brand will return to smartphones.[23] Earlier that year Nokia Technologies released the N1 tablet running Android. Under the terms of the acquisition agreement with Microsoft, Nokia could not sell Nokia-branded phones until 31 December 2015.[24] Suri said in February 2016 that he wanted the company to be in a position where it co-designs with another manufacturer, but keeps "appropriate control measures".[25]

HMD Global Oy was originally incorporated in Helsinki on 9 November 2015.[26]

On 18 May 2016, Microsoft Mobile announced the sale of its feature phone business to HMD Global and FIH Mobile. The sale included design rights, and its rights to use Nokia brand on all types of mobile phones and tablets worldwide until 2024[27][28], except in Japan, where Nokia-branded mobile phones have not been sold since 2008. HMD also signed a licensing agreement with Nokia Corporation which included giving it use of cellular standard essential patent licenses. Nokia has said this move is "uniting one of the world's iconic mobile brands with the leading mobile operating system".[29] Some factories of Microsoft Mobile, including one located in Vietnam, had been sold to FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world's largest electronics manufacturer.

It was agreed that HMD products would be manufactured in the FIH/Foxconn factories.[30] The total sale to both HMD Global and FIH Mobile amounted to US$350 million.[31] HMD have insisted to spend US$500 million in supporting the marketing of the new products over the next three years. In addition the company is backed by a Luxembourg-based private equity fund called Smart Connect LP, run by Jean-François Baril, who was senior vice president of Nokia from 1999 to 2012.[32]

The Nokia 6, HMD's first smartphone and the first Google Play certified Android-powered Nokia

On 1 December 2016, the Nokia website showed mobile devices for sale for the first time since 2014.[33][34] Their first devices, Nokia 150 and 150 Dual SIM basic phones, were announced on 13 December 2016,[35] while their first Android smartphone, Nokia 6, was announced on 8 January 2017. At Mobile World Congress in February 2017, HMD announced a feature phone, along with two new Android devices named Nokia 3 and Nokia 5.[36] The first smartphone release was Nokia 6 in China and a few other Asian markets starting January, whereas Western releases commenced in June starting with Finland,[37] with a full worldwide release of all three Android devices expected by August.[38]

On 6 July 2017 HMD partnered with Carl Zeiss AG to provide camera lens optics for Nokia smartphones.[39] Nokia previously used Zeiss optics from 2005 to 2014 which resulted in high-quality cameras.[40]

On 27 July 2017, HMD purchased 500 design patents from Microsoft Mobile that were originally created by Nokia. One notable patent is the Lumia Camera user interface, which had been highly praised by critics[41][42] since appearing on the Nokia Lumia 1020.

On 16 August 2017, HMD introduced their first flagship Nokia smartphone, the Nokia 8. Its most distinguishing features are Dual Sight, allowing live stream of both the front and rear Zeiss cameras (referred to as "bothie", a pun on "selfie"), and OZO Audio, which contains spatial 360° audio technology derived from Nokia's high-end OZO camera.[43][44][45]

On September 2017, HMD acquired the design patent of Nokia Lumia 2520.

On 25 October 2017, HMD revived Nokia Beta Labs, a beta software program.[46]

On 11th January 2018, HMD Global acquired the Asha brand name.

On 25 February 2018, A new high-end flagship was introduced, Nokia 8 Sirocco, featuring a curved all-glass design and its name referring to the older Nokia 8800 Sirocco,[47] as well as Nokia 7 plus, and an ultra-low-cost smartphone, Nokia 1.[48] In addition, HMD re-introduced the Nokia Pro Camera app for ZEISS camera phones.[49] The classic 8110 was also reintroduced.

In late July 2018, HMD announced vacancy for a team to expand the business in USA.

For the Chinese market, the Nokia X6 was announced, which will get a worldwide release as the Nokia 6.1 Plus. Another Chinese market device called the Nokia X5 was later announced. Both these have bezel-less screens.

In late August 2018, HMD acquired PureView branding, the famous imaging technology brand which had previously been implemented on high-end Nokia/Lumia smartphones.

Software[edit]

HMD are in a partnership with Google, and their Nokia-branded smartphones run Google's Android operating system.[50] The software has minimal customizations and is almost stock (or "vanilla") Android, with some notable customizations including tweaked icons with a more general blue theme,[51] a different camera app,[52] and the additions of the classic Nokia startup tone and the Nokia tune ringtone.[53] HMD call it "pure, secure and up-to-date", claiming it does not contain bloatware or additional software[54] and that the phones will get fast software updates compared to other OEMs.[55] It can be seen as a spiritual successor to Google's former Nexus series, which were known for running stock Android.[56] HMD's launch devices come preloaded with Android version 7 "Nougat", and it has been confirmed they will receive updates for the Android "Oreo" and the upcoming Android "Pie".[57]

Former CEO Arto Nummela, said in a June 2017 interview that HMD is a "first tier partner with Google".[58]

On feature phones, HMD has used Series 30+, Smart Feature OS powered by Java for Nokia 3310 3G and KaiOS for Nokia 8110 4G and in the Chinese market, YunOS.

Nokia 3 with the camera in action

Nokia and Android[edit]

After the announcement of Google's Open Handset Alliance in November 2007, Nokia said it "considered" joining the alliance, despite its majority stake in Symbian Ltd.[59] Nokia eventually did not join and instead created the rival Symbian Foundation in 2008 after taking control of the Symbian operating system and making it open source.[60][61] In 2010 as competition stiffened, Nokia lost some partners of the Symbian Foundation who then supported Google only.[62] By now Nokia planned to replace Symbian with the Linux-based MeeGo after the N9 flagship. As MeeGo and Android are based upon Linux, some speculated that this would be a roadmap in Nokia's eventual adoption of Android.[63]

Under CEO Stephen Elop the company chose to halt the MeeGo project in favour of adopting Windows Phone, which resulted in a partnership with Microsoft in 2011, with Symbian to be relegated. Google's chief executive Eric Schmidt confirmed that the company held extensive "confidential negotiations" with Nokia to encourage using Android.[64] Despite this, Nokia still experimented with Android that year and leaked images showed a Nokia N9 prototype running Android.[65] In late 2013 when Microsoft announced its intention to purchase the Nokia mobile phone division, the New York Times reported that a team at Nokia were secretly testing Android on Lumia devices, but that Microsoft was aware of this.[66] Some analysts think Microsoft bought the business because Nokia were thinking of switching to Android, which could have resulted in Microsoft losing its dominant Windows Phone OEM.[67] In December 2013 there were leaks of a Nokia Android smartphone codenamed Normandy,[68] which was eventually introduced as the Nokia X series in February 2014, featuring a heavily customized version of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and released in emerging markets. The acquisition was completed just two months later, and Microsoft discontinued the X series soon afterwards. In an interview with Forbes, former HMD CEO Arto Nummela stated that the Nokia X family surprisingly became popular with users of high end Samsung and Apple smartphone devices, despite the fact that it was a mid to low end device series.[69]

After the sale, the Nokia Technologies division developed the N1 Android tablet featuring the Z Launcher interface, released in China in 2015. Later that year images of a N1-like phone with Android called the C1 was leaked.[70] Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri confirmed the return of the Nokia brand to smartphones in June 2015 through a licensing strategy,[71] and the formation of HMD Global was finally announced in May 2016. The Nokia 6 was announced in January 2017, almost six years after declining Google and partnering with Microsoft.

Smart Feature OS[edit]

Smart Feature OS is an operating system providing some smartphone capabilities in devices with a feature phone form factor. Smart Feature OS is based on Java for Nokia 3310 3G and KaiOS for Nokia 8110 4G[72][better source needed] and was debuted on the Nokia 3310 3G and on the Nokia 8110 4G.[73][74][75][76] The newer KaiOS-based system is integrated with many of Google's services, as opposed to Microsoft's on Series 30+

Hardware[edit]

The first flagship, Nokia 8, in copper color

The design language of Nokia smartphones from HMD consists of typical Scandinavian design and aesthetics,[77][78] and are considered to be reminiscent of the previous Lumia series.[79][80][81] When HMD was formed in 2016, it stated that it wanted to develop phones that stay loyal to Nokia's popular heritage of "design, robustness and reliability".[82] The company's design team is headed by Raun Forsyth and Alasdair McPhail.[83]

The Nokia 5, 6, and 8 are made from a single block of 6000 series aluminium,[84][85] while the 7 is crafted from 7000 series aluminum.[86] The Nokia 8 Sirocco is crafted from a single block of stainless steel.[47]

By 2017, Nokia also started resurrecting its classic devices. This began in May 2017 when a new 3310 handset was introduced at the Mobile World Congress. It sported an updated but similar design language to the original, which debuted in September 2000.[87] This device was still a feature phone but it shipped with a fresh operating system, colored display, and Nokia native applications. After the success of this initiative, Nokia again rebooted one of its classic phones, the Nokia 8110, which featured a 4G update, excellent battery life, and classic Nokia apps.[88]

Reception[edit]

A highlight of HMD's Nokia smartphones has been build quality and design.[89][90] TechRadar noted the premium build of the Nokia 5 despite its low-cost, whereas GSMArena said that the Nokia 6 is "built like a tank".[91] Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer at HMD, said "it [the devices] has the build quality that you expect from Nokia".[92] The end result of a Nokia 6 build has been called an "aluminium unibody with the highest level of visual and structural quality".[93] TechRadar called the Nokia 8 "one of the most – if not the most – beautiful phones we’ve ever seen with the Nokia branding emblazoned on the rear."[94]

HMD have also been praised for its commitment of providing zero-day and monthly security patches,[14] as well as its choice to stick with stock Android without an additional user interface.[95][96] The Nokia 3310 reboot has been praised as a clever marketing strategy,[97] with one analyst calling it a "PR stunt".[98] The reboot got people talking about the Nokia brand again.[99]

A common criticism in some of the Nokia smartphones have been the choices of entry-level chipsets. The Nokia 6's chipset put strain on software performance.[100][101][102] The budget-level Nokia 3 has also been criticized for using an underpowered MediaTek processor.[103] Analysts have also noted the new Nokia 3310 as being "overpriced",[104][105] and that similarly basic phones can be bought for almost half the price.[106]

Sales[edit]

HMD executive Juho Sarvikas said on 16 August 2017 that the company had shipped "millions of units of the 3, 5 and 6", with demand "far outstripping" supply.[107] As of June 2017, demand of the new Nokia 3310 has been up to seven times higher than expected in the UK.[108]

By Q2 2017, HMD captured 0.4% market share in the smartphone market, making it the 11th largest in Europe, and 5th largest in Finland. An IDC analyst called it a "great start".[109] According to Counterpoint Research on 1 December 2017, - the first anniversary of HMD - the company was the 8th mobile phone vendor in the world (this includes both smartphones and feature phones). It was placed 5th in India, 4th in Russia, 3rd in the UK, and 1st in the Middle East.[110] It also became the 4th vendor in Germany as of Q3 2017.[111]

1.5 million Nokia smartphones were sold in the first half of 2017,[112] up from virtually zero the year before.

In Q4 2017, HMD was the best-selling mobile phone vendor overall in Vietnam and most Middle Eastern countries, and also the no. 1 feature phone vendor worldwide. It was also the 3rd best-selling smartphone vendor in the UK, the first time for the Nokia brand since 2010.[113]

Operation[edit]

Staff[edit]

The CEO and presidency role is fulfilled by Florian Seiche, formerly Nokia Europe's senior vice president of sales and marketing, who also had stints at Siemens, Orange and HTC.[114] The original CEO was Arto Nummela, who joined Nokia in 1994 and served in several positions including product creation and portfolio before moving to Microsoft Mobile when it was formed 2014.[115] On 19 July 2017 Nummela left the company by "mutual agreement", leading to the president, Seiche, to become acting CEO.[116][117]

On 15 August 2016, Pekka Rantala, former CEO of Rovio Entertainment, became HMD's chief marketing officer,[118] commenting that Nokia will "rise again". Rantala previously held several positions at Nokia from 1994 to 2011 such as leader of Nokia's European operations.[119][120]

Headquarters[edit]

HMD are based at the Nokia Campus in Karaportti in Espoo, Finland, opposite Nokia Corporation's headquarters. HMD's other main offices are located in London, England; Noida, India and Dubai, UAE.[121]

Products[edit]

The original early 2017 lineup: Nokia 3310, 6, 5 and 3

Smartphones[edit]

Nokia Originals[edit]

Feature phones[edit]

Other devices sold by HMD Global[edit]

These were originally developed by Microsoft Mobile.

See also[edit]

  • Jolla, a mobile phone company with former Nokia's MeeGo staff
  • Alcatel Mobile, a mobile phone brand owned by Nokia

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