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HMD Global Partners with Rajasthan Royals, Eyes New Market with First Non-Nokia Branded Phone

HMD Global Partners with Rajasthan Royals, Eyes New Market with First Non-Nokia Branded Phone

In a bold move signaling a new era, HMD Global is gearing up to launch its first smartphone without the iconic Nokia branding, targeting an April 2024 release in India. This strategic pivot aligns with the company’s partnership with the Rajasthan Royals cricket team, illustrating HMD’s commitment to establishing a strong foothold in the Indian market. Sources reveal that the upcoming HMD-branded phones will not only focus on aggressive online market pricing but also on offering more OS updates compared to competitors, featuring a stock Android OS akin to their Nokia predecessors.

Additionally, HMD Global plans to continue selling both HMD and Nokia devices until 2026, indicating a gradual transition rather than a complete brand overhaul. The launch will also underscore HMD’s ambition to expand into a comprehensive product ecosystem, including tablets, feature phones, and IoT devices, all aimed at different price segments to distinguish from the Nokia product line. Notably, HMD Global has teamed up with major manufacturers like Foxconn, Dixon, and Lava for production in India, with an eye towards exporting to other markets, reflecting a significant investment in the ‘Make in India’ initiative​.

The transition signifies HMD’s evolution from a licensee to a creator of a multi-brand portfolio, with the company aiming to introduce a series of products under the HMD branding. These products span across various categories, including smartphones, tablets, feature phones, and IoT devices, all part of a broader strategy to establish an ecosystem of “Human Mobile Devices.” The company has expressed its dedication to diversifying its offerings, moving beyond the legacy of Nokia to include modernized dumb phones, tablets, and potentially wearables.

A leaked image on Nokia’s website revealed a sneak peek at one of the upcoming HMD-branded smartphones, showcasing a back panel with dual rear-facing cameras and a 108 MP OIS inscription, suggesting a high-resolution, optically stabilized primary camera. Despite the lack of detailed specifications, industry insiders, including Evan Blass, have hinted at the development of at least six HMD-branded smartphones, all positioned as either entry-level or mid-range options.

India has been identified as a priority market for the new HMD brand, with the company adopting an India-first approach for its device launches. HMD Global India’s VP confirmed plans to manufacture all handsets within the country and commence exports, aligning with the Indian government’s push to boost the manufacturing ecosystem. This strategy not only aims to cater to the domestic market but also positions India as a potential export hub for HMD’s products to other markets.

HMD’s commitment to the Android operating system remains steadfast, with plans to provide extended security updates for its devices. This approach mirrors the industry’s current trend and suggests a strategy focused on reliability and performance, possibly aiming to cover all price segments with at least three device launches a year.

As HMD Global steps away from the Nokia branding, it marks a new chapter in its journey, with aspirations to create a unique space in the competitive smartphone market. By focusing on diversified products and strategic partnerships, HMD aims to navigate the transition while maintaining its commitment to innovation and quality​.

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