back to article You won't believe this: Nokia soars back into phone-flinger top 3

HMD's Nokia-branded Androids haven't exactly got reviewers raving – but they are shifting in decent numbers. Counterpoint reckons HMD sold 4.4 million Nokias in the final three months of 2017, with total sales to date topping around 10 million. That's enough to put it in the UK Top 3 again, analyst Neil Shah reckons. Globally …

  1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good! Nokia could have dominated if they'd jumped into Android when they had the chance. Instead they stuck their fingers in their ears for years and let Samsung take over.

    I hope they innovate and make their devices good enough to unseat Samsung from the top

    1. E_Nigma

      They probably wanted to stick their fingers in their eyes too at some point, so that they wouldn't be able to see the sales figures, but the thing was that they couldn't do anything about it: they were under contractual obligation to only produce Windows Phone devices, and that was it.

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Nokia could have dominated if they'd jumped into Android when they had the chance

      I think Nokia were in trouble before then. I remember reading an article where a Nokia insider confessed that they were just turning out phone model after phone model with no actual plan or segregation between them. What model got what feature was almost random.

      The problem with Android seems to be that most people are in a race to the bottom ('cause it's so easy to produce a cheap Android phone). You have to sell a lot of phones at wafer thin margins to stay alive. That, or you have to have some unique feature that no-one else can copy (that consumers actually want) that you can charge way above cost for.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I hope they innovate

      Are you sure? The problems of the old Nokia Phones was that they did too much innovation that nobody wanted, and then those innovations competed internally with each other. The (relative) success of these devices is down to the fact that they haven't "innovated" much so far. The only obvious thing the market are crying out for innovation in is battery technology, and that's a very different business to phone making. Rubin's Essential appears to be dying on its feet, WileyFox have disappeared down a rabbit hole, Even most big brands are struggling - LG, HTC, Lenovo and Sony make no money from their phone divisions.

      At the moment there seems to be a modest sweet spot for vanilla Android devices from a trusted name, but the challenger Chinese brands are doing a stellar job in producing devices to build enthusiasm and brand awareness particularly in the large emerging markets. The old Nokia strengths of great audio and excellent camera has been copied by a whole range of brands who now do it better (and still aren't profitable).

      The HMD devices are made by Foxxconn, so any manufacturing expertise sits with them, and I'm struggling to see how HMD can make a profitable future with an OS they don't own, when most competitors aren't profitable, and when in the longer term HMD need to make enough money for both themselves and Foxxconn to make a decent profit, and still pay the royalties to Nokia. HMD claim to have over 500 employees, and since they are just specifying a fairly run-of-the-mill handset, I struggle to see what they are all doing, and how such a business can survive.

    4. MyffyW Silver badge

      Whether this really pans out for Nokia, I'm not sure. But it is hilarious watching continuity-Nokia claim the number 3 spot whilst being $4bn+ richer thanks to Microsoft's incompetence.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        FAIL

        They're only number 3 because of feature phones - they have just 1% of smart phone market.

        Still irrelevant (sadly)

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          1% (8.7 millon) isn't bad for 9 months work though, is it?

    5. DougS Silver badge

      Nokia didn't need Android

      If back when Elop took over Nokia they had chosen someone who wasn't a Microsoft lackey who took the company on a path to polish Maemo/Meego into a modern touch-based OS it could have been the third mobile OS to compete with Android and iOS. They'd probably have second place market share today a little ahead of iOS (because unlike Apple they sell across the entire range from high end to low end) and pretty much all of that share would come out of what Android has.

      By the time they abandoned their foolish Windows Phone path they had no choice but to go Android because it had become too entrenched for a third alternative to have a chance.

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Meego was Nokia's suicide note

        Maemo might have been a contender. We'll never know. It was the hottest thing one year (2010, I think) at FOSDEM, only to be made abandonware a couple of months later as Nokia drifted to Meego.

        From that FOSDEM, Maemo had a real developer community, and it looked like a possible challenger to the then-dominant Iphone. As soon as we were abandoned, Nokia lost itself that community and ceded whatever chance it might have had to Android.

  2. OliP

    As much as i loved my old nokias, i'm not sure i recognize any of what i loved in these new stock android devices. and beyond the name, how much of the old guard is left?

    I'll be starting to look for replacements for my s7 edge in a month or two, ideally want to go for something mid-market this time, but not sure i'd place much love or trust in nokia over any other android purveyor tbh.

    Those days are long gone.

    1. A. Coatsworth
      Meh

      >>not sure i'd place much love or trust in nokia over any other android purveyor

      The best thing I can say about the new "Nokias" is that they work as expected.

      I begrudgingly moved to Android last December, after running out of options. My last 3 phones were Nokias, and even the last one (Lumia 625) had its charm, even though it had several annoying quirks.

      So, just out of nostalgia, I got a Nokia 6. The promise of timely security updates and no manufacturer bloatware were also important decision points.

      The price was decent, it feels solidly built and it has plenty of oomph for a middle of the road phone. But it just so aseptic... it is a black slab of glass indistinguishable from any other Android phone out there. I use it and don't have any regrets about the purchase, but it simply doesn't have a personality, like my beloved E51 and 600, and even the special needs Lumia used to have.

      like you, I think the time when one felt an emotional connection to a manufacturer and to a particular handset is long pass, and phones are now just utilities.

      1. Mike Richards

        Agreed

        I have the Nokia 8 and it is a perfectly competent phone which runs nice and fast, takes decent enough photos, does all the multimedia doohickies and has a nice screen. But it has no quirks whatsoever and none of the little touches that made the Lumias such lovely phones.

        If you want a phone it will do its job, just don't expect to love it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you have an S7 Edge and move to something mid-market you might be disappointed

  3. Danny 5

    Not surprized

    Microsoft clearly had no idea how valuable the Nokia brand was, killing it off was one of the dumbest things I've seen them do in recent years. Now that Nokia is back on Android, it will pull back the Nokia fans, whilst also appealing to new customers with the more than decent bang for your buck.

    I'm waiting to get mine actually. I'm now suffering with a Microsoft Lumia 950 and can't wait to replace it.

    I'm probably repeating myself, but the 950's been such a massive disappointment that I really can't wait to get rid of it. I only got it, because I was so happy with my 1020 and was expecting a better (or at least similar) experience with the 950. BOY was I mistaken.

    Bring on the New 8!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not surprized

      > I'm probably repeating myself, but the 950's been such a massive disappointment that I really can't wait to get rid of it.

      I thought the same until I got an S8. Now I miss the 950 *every* *single* day :(

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not surprized

        You need to get a Pixel.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not surprized

      "Microsoft clearly had no idea how valuable the Nokia brand was, killing it off was one of the dumbest things I've seen them do in recent years"

      But, if the sale meant that (the original) Nokia had the right to start using their name on phones again after two years then might that not imply that MS only had rights to use the brand "Nokia" for 2years - giving them time to transition the market to their new branding (presumably "Lumia"). It would seem odd if the sale permitted both companies to use the same brandh name after the 2 years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not surprized

        It would seem odd if the sale permitted both companies to use the same brandh name after the 2 years.

        Undoubtedly true, but MS could have bought the perpetual rights to the Nokia name - clearly the Nokia group didn't want that, but it desperately needed to offload the phone division, and Microsoft was the only buyer in town.

        I suspect Microsoft's dual miscalculations were "Of course we can transition to the Microsoft brand and everybody will be cool with that, and we'll slip Windows onto every device because everybody loves Windows". After the sale, they had no choice, before the sale it was all there to play for.

    3. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Not surprized

      "Microsoft clearly had no idea how valuable the Nokia brand was"

      I think they did, they paid enough for it. What they didn't realise was how worthless their own brand was. No substitute at all, especially when the new OS turned out equally worthless - again.

      Nokia/HMD are so-o lucky, not many Micro$haft dinners ever get thrown back up. I really wish them well.

  4. David Lawton

    All i wanted 8 years ago was a Nokia running Android, always had Nokia's. So i ended up at the time making my worse ever mistake mobile wise and getting a Samsung Galaxy S2, worst mobile i have ever owned, unreliable, poor call quality, got red hot, would freeze, just utter junk. I got my first iPhone after that as i was getting annoyed with where Microsoft was going and got my first ever Mac and that left me really impressed.

    If i wanted an Android handset now it would be a Nokia without question, but i'm too happy with the Apple world now.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stock Android.

    Android wi' Nowt Taken Owt (and replaced with inferior branded alternatives)

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Stock Android.

      Unfortunately on Android 8 every app is a Google app, even Dialler, Contacts, Messages, Clock, Wallpaper, Gallery, and Keyboard. No AOSP for you.

      I trust them about as far as I can throw them.

  6. TonyDeaf

    Symbian had a lot to do with it.

    They went totally overboard with designing a mobile first set of features whilst overlooking the fact that some poor devs had to learn how to code in it. I did a Symbian course and still have headaches.

  7. TonyDeaf

    I think Symbian had a lot to do with the 'finger-in-the-ears' on Android.

    Hard to kill your in-house baby even if it did give the average dev a screaming migraine every time they tried to code something in it.

    Without that delay - who knows ?

    Ah yes they also did the N8000 Linux tablet. If only multi-touch screens had been around when that came out...

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Nokia had MeeGo ready to take over and launched a phone with it. Elop would have killed the N9 off before launch were it not for Nokia's agreement with Intel, so he had to be content with releasing to small markets in limited numbers.

      1. Manu T

        Not only that but it was also Intel who got out of the Meego project. In essence Nokia had to do all the work that would/should have been split between both of them. Suddenly it was all on Nokia's shoulders causing the many delays.

        In essence what happened to Nokia started and is actually Intel's fault. Not many people realize this!

        They keep complaining about Symbian and how difficult it was to program for it yet things improved drastically with Symbian S3/Bell and QT.

        So devs are lazy b@stards and Intel is a backstabbing bitch! Yeah, I would throw the hat in the ring too.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not only that but it was also Intel who got out of the Meego project. In essence Nokia had to do all the work that would/should have been split between both of them. Suddenly it was all on Nokia's shoulders causing the many delays.

        In essence what happened to Nokia started and is actually Intel's fault. Not many people realize this!

        They keep complaining about Symbian and how difficult it was to program for it yet things improved drastically with Symbian S3/Bell and QT.

        So devs are lazy b@stards and Intel is a backstabbing bitch! Yeah, I would throw the hat in the ring too.

      3. Lomax
        Thumb Up

        Meego

        The Nokia N9 is still the best phone I've ever owned. Perfect in every way, apart from being abandoned by Nokia / Elop. Can't help wondering what would have happened if it had been launched properly.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      a screaming migraine

      I've never had a screaming migraine.. groaning migraine, yes. Whimpering migraine, yes.

      The last thing you need with a migraine is lots of extra noise[1] - it acts on the ears a bit like bright light on the eyes.

      [1] Although, confusingly, music helps. Even some of the more avant-garde prog.. The way my brain is wired[2], I suspect it hears the music and is too busy following it to think about how much it[3] hurts.

      [2] Ever seem fabric-covered wiring a-la 1930s? You get the picture.

      [3] Yes, yes, I know that the brain has no pain receptors. Trust me on this one - when you have a migraine it *feels* like your brain is hurting. At which point you become very grateful for modern pharmaceuticals..

  8. teknopaul Silver badge

    ace

    Will that box of old nokia phone chargers still work?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ace

      No.

  9. Bob Vistakin
    Pint

    "Globally in Q4, Shah estimates Nokias outsold Sony and HTC."

    The recovery from their raping by the beast was long and painful, yet it didn't kill them.

    I notice their new corporate anthem has 261M views, so it certainly wasn't an elop, err sorry that should have read "flop", of course.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    "Long-time Nokia tormentor Tomi Ahonen"

    Long-time Elop tormentor. And rightly so.

    Nokia X's launch was what happened when the parent company locked Elop in the cellar and launched a phone designed for just one customer to buy - Microsoft. It was a resounding success.

  11. Bad Beaver

    Da da daaa daaa da da daaa daaa da da daaa daaa daaa

    Good news.

    I'm very happy with my Nokia 5. Yes, it's a faceless Droid but hey, it works fine. Regardless, I that at some point we will see the return of a proper brand world. One of the cooler things about the Nokia N9 was that the fabula design language was spread across devices. The BT-stereo headset, the NFC-BT-speakers – everything had the iconic squircle icon-shape you saw on your screen. Very satisfying.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No frills Android

    I call it not messed with.

    I prefer the stock Google android to anything that other companies have done. Samsung are the worst, modifying for modifying sake.... Duplication of apps and other nonsense.

  13. Ian Johnston

    I just looked up the Nokia 8. Simple black slab, simple Android ... five hundred fucking pounds. Dear God. I'll stick to my seventy quid Medion (Lenovo) from Aldi, thanks.

  14. bep

    Cheap?

    None of the phones being discussed are particularly cheap around these parts. Nokia has every chance of taking over the niche that Motorola has created now that Lenovo has taken over that brand. The people in charge there obviously have no idea what made the Motorolas attractive to some and are busy screwing things up. Nokia still has brand recognition for sure but how big the ultimate market will be is anyone's guess, but I'm glad there is now another option.

  15. Bob Vistakin
    Pint

    LineageOS

    Heads up for those who love the stock Android these new Nokia's sport.

    Every handset I own older than 2 years is now running a custom ROM, most LineageOS, which get more frequent, and automatic, updates than those the manufacturers provide. It's what took over from Cyanogen.

    Check out the device list - it even includes the PC

    1. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Re: LineageOS

      Sadly,no-one seems to have broken the Kindle, or I'd have another lOS device in the house...

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: LineageOS

      It's what took over from Cyanogen.

      Speaking of which, I must look up the ROM listings for t'wife's Wileyfox Swift now that Wileyfox are going down the pan..

  16. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    M&A?

    MSFT must be considering a buy-out to get them into the mobi game...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Raspberry PiPhone with 3G Hotspot Functionality...

    ...I wonder if there's a way to make the Raspberry PiPhone into a device which can also be a 3G Hotspot? That'd be sufficient for me: removable battery of any damn capacity I want, no crapware except on whatever I'm using to connect through it.

  18. Hubert Thrunge Jr.

    N900... N9...

    I had a N900, loved it, even though it was feature limited until the indie Devs came up with features like MMS for it. Still got two of them somewhere, one is running Mer now.

    I grabbed a N9 as soon as they were released. It became one of the longest used phones I've ever had as I used to kill phones in a year. It lasted almost two years before battery life tailed off to make it unusable for me. I resisted Android, went BB10 with a Z10 - great phone. Replaced that with a Jolla, drowned it within a week, so bought another one! Still got it. That's where the N9 was going.

    Had Nokia not had Elop, and pushed the N9 globally from it's proper planned launch date, I honestly think the world would be a different place. The iPhone was still in its infancy, it's features were nothing to write home about and lots of things we took for granted didn't work. The N9 was full multitasking, even android didn't do that at the time. The OS was years ahead, but it was murdered by Elop, aided and abetted by the Symbian developers who thought they had a future...

    Nokia would have been no.1 and Meego would be on other devices.

    But, that didn't happen, and we have HMD selling Nokia's marque in the market, and they are doing very well.

    I bought a Nokia 5 for my lads 13th birthday. Well under £200 and much better than a Shenzhen Special Landfill Android jobby.

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