Technology companies like Huawei Technologies Co and Samsung Electronics Co think the way to take on a stagnating smartphone market is to build devices that fold in half. Nokia has a different idea — make a phone with five cameras on the back.
HMD Global Oy, which produces consumer products under the Nokia name, showed off the Nokia 9 PureView at MWC Barcelona on Sunday. It doesn’t bend in half, and it doesn’t have next-generation 5G mobile connectivity, but HMD chief executive officer Florian Seiche said there’s a big market still for this kind of phone.
“It’s targeted at enthusiast photographers,” Seiche said in an interview on the sidelines of the tech conference, and added that it would promote the phone across Europe, the US, and China.
Premium device makers have been trying to develop ways to excite consumers into upgrading their phones more frequently, but high prices, minimal aesthetic differentiation between models, as well as strong competition from Chinese manufacturers, have made this difficult over the past year.
Seiche wouldn’t say whether the company was preparing a model with 5G connectivity, as seen on devices announced recently by Samsung, and Xiaomi Corp, but said HMD was collaborating with Qualcomm Inc on 5G technologies.
The Nokia 9 runs on Alphabet Inc-owned Google’s Android software and uses a Qualcomm-made processor. But crucially in a market of expensive high-end devices, it costs about $699.
Seiche said expanding Nokia’s presence in the US this year was “a very big focus area.” He said the partnerships with Verizon and Cricket Wireless was “a great start,” but wanted to also invest more in high-street retail and e-commerce to boost sales.
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