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Nokia’s budget phone Comeback - What’s the strategy?

Krishna Chimalamarri12/05/2017Thoughtsalt

By today's standards, the handset looked crude. It even relied on green and red stickers to indicate the buttons used to start and end a call. But there was a lot of affection for it, making it the go-to choice, for example, for teenagers looking for their first phone. And as to its technical capabilities: who could complain about a battery life of 30 days on standby, or 22 hours of use from a single charge?  

I'm talking, of course, about the Nokia 3310, a design classic released to the world for the first time 17 years ago, and which is now poised for a comeback. Oh, the nostalgia! Can you imagine it? And, yes, before you ask, it will include the king of games that is the magnificent Snake! 

Nokia has already announced that the product will hit the shelves this quarter with a price tag of €49.99, making it, as the company knows, a charming back-up mobile for those times when one's primary phone has ran out of juice. But if it wants to make a clean sweep of the market, what's a mobile manufacturer to do?  

We could talk at length about this, delving into the ins and outs of every last feature of every last phone, but the plainest answer is that it must target all corners of that market, not just one. In this case, it goes without saying that those with the cash to do so will gravitate towards smartphones - perhaps considering a back-up later - while the less well off will head straight to 'secondary' models. Hence, if a manufacturer can provide the quality, it makes sense to be in both markets.

 Nokia seems aware of this, and will also be launching a set of smartphones, Nokia 3, 5 and 6, each of which has its own virtues. Nokia 3, for instance, has an 8MP autofocus camera, conducive to striking selfies, while Nokia 5 features an HD display which enables better quality photographs, even when taken at night time, through its phase detection autofocus. Nokia 6, similarly, is a well-planned and executed device, tailored to immersive entertainment.

But where will Nokia's focus lie? It's telling to look at the proposed price of the three new devices - €139, €189 and €229 respectively - which falls below the maximum of €285 the average consumer is prepared to pay for a handset, according to a recent survey. This suggests Nokia might be concentrating on its budget phone range, rather than trying to compete at the highest levels of the smartphone market. We wish the legend that is the 3310 all the best for its glorious return.