Nokia C2 2022 - Hero RF

Nokia ignores smartphone spec ‘arms race’

Image credit: HMD Global

Nokia’s newest smartphones want to “get the fundamentals right” rather than getting “caught up in an arms race over specifications” with other manufacturers, according to the firm behind the brand’s latest handsets.

Adam Ferguson, global head of product marketing at Finnish company HMD Global, the exclusive licensee of the Nokia brand for phones and tablets, said its new C21 Plus and C2 smartphones were not about making headlines with price tags or high specifications, but were more focused on providing reliability to users.

The phones start at £100 and £75 respectively and HMD claims they have long battery life and a durable design to encourage users to keep their phones for longer, whilst still offering the typical appointments of a modern smartphone, such as a good-quality screen and camera set-up.

The new C-series phones run Android, with quarterly security updates planned for two years, and offer battery sizes of 4000mAh or 5050mAh, depending on the model. Built around a robust inner metal chassis, the C21 Plus phone has an IP52 rating for protection against dirt, dust, and water droplet ingress. A toughened cover glass protects the 6.5” HD+ display, while the camera is a 13MP dual affair with Panorama and Portrait modes. There is also fingerprint and AI face unlock technology. The tech spec for the other C-series handsets is inevitably less impressive, but still perfectly respectable.

Unveiling the phones at this year’s MWC (Mobile World Congress) show in Barcelona, Ferguson said the new handsets were inspired by Nokia’s reputation for reliability and durability from the first wave of mobile phones in the 1990s.

“It’s getting those fundamentals right and really establishing in our users’ minds what the value that a Nokia brings is,” he told the PA news agency.

“We don’t want to get caught up in this sort of arms race for spec that’s going on around the rest of the industry. There are plenty of other people that can do that – you want a few extra megapixels here at this price point or you want a few extra bits of frame rate on your refresh rate on your screen, fine, I’m sure there’s someone who can deal with that for you.

“But actually, you want a device that’s going to go the distance that you know you can rely on, with a lot of these fundamental principles done in the best way possible.

“That’s what we’re trying to stand for and bring back into the market again and, obviously, we’re served very well by the fact that that is a lot of what the Nokia heritage was about in the first place.”

Since reviving the Nokia phone brand in 2016, HMD Global has launched a string of smartphones and more basic feature phones, gradually re-establishing the brand in the market.

It now has a number of distinct ranges from premium smartphones down to entry-level feature phones and has also found success in the mid-range market.

HMD Global recently reported a sixth straight quarter of profitability. Ferguson said HMD’s smartphone revenue rose 47 per cent last year, which he said was partly down to “getting those fundamentals” of durability and longevity right.

“They [the new phones] are less flashy and less exciting than some of what other people are turning up with, but at the same time this is going to be one of our various growth areas; people moving from feature phones into smartphones who are wanting something that’s really reliable,” he said.

“They are used to devices that are really durable and robust that have batteries that last days and we’re making sure that these devices deliver that in the smartphone category as well.”

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