HMD Global from Finland is in India, under the name of erstwhile brand ‘NOKIA’. They are setting up their repair centers, and rolling out brand new products. In an already crowded market of smartphone vendor’s, we get a new one, under an old name though. What is HMD bringing to the table?

Their launch page on cites following statement

“Designed for perfection. Built to last. Striking clean look. Smooth metal exterior. Available in three colors. Made to be life-proof”

These are lofty ideals, spitted out by marketing to gain our attention and influence our purchase decision.

I have only one question for HMD Global, how long is “Built to last” supposed to last? You are giving only one-year limited warranty for manufacturing defects. If the thing is truly designed for perfection and built to last, why not offer a three year standard warranty with the product (even at a modest price).

The truth is that the phone is designed to last only one to two years. Its smooth metal exterior and Gorilla glass will show heavy wear and tear if they are not used with a case and screen protector. The parts are typically prohibitively expensive to repair / replace if one wants to continue using the product beyond 2 years.

Built to last is a good marketing slogan. Similar tag lines also used by Lenovo (Motorola) etc. Unless they add meaningful supporting evidence for the same, its all talk. Example get C2C certification. Its the same old consumer product in a new package. Same old. Same old.

Best, Umang

p.s. An amusing situation is that they just announced their partnership with Carl-Zeiss for camera lens’. In one swift stroke they rendered their current products obsolete (as they are shipping without Zeiss). So much for perfection. So far they have released Nokia 3, 5, 6. Rumored to release 7, 8, 9 and 2. I wonder why they skipped Nokia 1 and 4.

p.p.s. One Plus (An Oppo subsidiary, which is a BBK Electronics subsidary which also owns Vivo, i.e. OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo have same corporate parent See this link Reuters had sent me an email last week, asking to fill a feedback form. It had a column for feedback. Here’s what I wrote to them (verbatim)

Many suggestions. There is a big perception that each new model will be costlier than previous one. It’s a slippery slope. Also as a value conscious user who is mainly looking to pick up a durable phone which will be supported for more than three years, OnePlus is not looking to be delivering on that front. The values I care most about are durability, value for money, camera and service experience. I have bought 3 OP devices, mainly for family members. I am disappointed on durability front. One device had screen cracked, and the owner didn’t bother to get it repaired, thus he doesn’t value the device worth to get the screen repaired. Having first screen break repaired bundled in the phone’s cost is more appealing to me than buying additional insurance which lasts only one year. Again I am looking from the standpoint of being able to use the phone for at least three years. Nokia has entered the market again, I know that it’s HMD now, however they have opened their marketing with “Built to Last”. They have an appeal to the beleaguered customer who is tired of shelling out ever larger amounts more frequently for less durable items. The uncertainty and the prohibitive cost of getting the phone repaired, and very low valuation of a used phone is not good for a company who wants their brand to stand for high standards. I wrote a blog post on similar lines last year. Link. Although I don’t recommend anyone buying iPhone, they are winning the durability game and high resale value of used product. Hopefully, OP5 performance in actual usage will meet a similar long lasting standard and it will turn out to be a milestone device. Currently, because of the price, service experience uncertainty, I am not considering a purchase of OP5. However as someone who has bought 3 devices from OP and observed many colleagues using the device, I am not happy with the durability aspect, of users not using the device beyond ~18 months window, because of screen issue, or device develops minor quirks which they don’t bother to get fixed. I would look forward to the evolution of OP flagships in coming years, and hope is that the number of active OP devices takes over the number of active iOS devices (1billion+). That would require people to obsessively find their OP working flawlessly for years as a tank. If OP1, OP2, OP3, OP3T keep working for ~5+ years, 1billion active devices may not be that far. Do try and stay within $400 window though, which is the original market OP went for.