KARACHI: An established name in feature phones, Nokia is set to introduce its first-ever range of Android smartphones in Pakistan by the end of June, which are unbreakable and believed to attract middle to high-income groups.
“The phones [Nokia 6, 5 and 3] will be launched in Pakistan, Middle East and North Africa late in the second quarter of 2017,” said HMD Global Vice President Middle East and North Africa Per Ekman.
HMD, the manufacturer of the phones, has already launched its flagship Nokia 6 in China in January, claiming a great success.
“We had pre-sale one million registered buyers of the phone [in China]. All the phones available in store on the day [January 19] of the launch were sold in just a blink of 23 seconds,” he said at a media briefing.
He, however, did not disclose the exact number of phones sold on the launch day.
The unique feature of the phones is that they are rock solid and unbreakable. A small video, played by Ekman during the briefing, showed a woman breaking walnuts with the phone, throwing it towards a wall and it hit back like a ball and dropping it down to the floor from a height of around three feet, but the phone still remained intact.
With this launch, the multinational firm staged a comeback in the smartphone category after a gap of almost three years. Earlier, it had presented Windows-based smartphones globally, but they failed to succeed.
An official of Nokia’s local partner HMD Pakistan told The Express Tribune, “Lumia 930 was our last Windows-based smartphone introduced sometime in 2013.”
Nokia globally ended its collaboration with Windows in April 2014. “Actually, Windows did not keep its apps updated, which disappointed phone users and became a cause of failure,” he said.
Nokia had also launched a phone carrying some Android features sometime back, but that also failed to attract mobile phone users.
“We say these [Nokia 6, 5 and 3] are our first-ever Android smartphones,” he said. Some of the phones would carry low features as the company would launch multiple versions of them keeping in view the diversity in the market.
Along with Android phones, it would re-launch its iconic 3310 in a new shape and with increased features.
Nokia dominated with “80% market share in the early days of feature phones in Pakistan,” said the official, adding those days were followed by innovation of smartphones and arrival of many new names in Pakistan.
Responding to a query, Ekman said: “It [Pakistan] is a key strategic market for us.”
According to an estimate, about one million mobile phone users (on an average) are switching to smartphones every month in Pakistan.
According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s latest data, there are 137.09 million mobile phone users as on January 31, 2017. Almost 28% or 38.26 million are believed to carry smartphones, as they are 3G/4G mobile internet users.
Last month, Motorola staged a comeback in Pakistan under the new trademark, Lenovo Moto, targeting the high-end smartphone market.
Alcatel made its way into Pakistan with a range of feature and smartphones in August 2016.
Other prominent brand names in the country include Samsung, QMobile, Huawei, Apple, Lenovo, iPhone and Infinix.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2017.