At the beginning of mobile phone era in Bangladesh, Nokia almost alone ruled the market. Bangladeshi consumers highly admired its build quality, attractive design, battery performance, quality of features, etc. But with the passage of time, Nokia was almost a forgotten name. First, they decided to produce windows phone together with Microsoft when Android was getting popular. But people were more attracted to Android. So they made a significant loss and sold their brand name to Microsoft. Microsoft stopped producing phones with brand name Nokia and rebranded Nokia Lumia phones with “Microsoft Lumia.” Thus Nokia completely disappeared from the smartphone market for few years.
After Microsoft closed the smartphone manufacturing business, Nokia came back with Android smartphones in 2017. They got some success with their brand new concept but were still missing the big push needed for becoming a top brand again. So, in MWC 2018, they introduced Nokia 1 with few other smartphones. Nokia 1 targets the low budget consumers around the world. Bangladesh is one of the biggest and highest growth markets for low budget smartphones in the world. So, the 7,990 Tk. priced Nokia 1 could grab instant attention. Nokia is still a beloved name in the subconscious mind of Bangladeshi consumers, it is android, and it is low-priced. What else could be a better combination?
But this is still not enough for the people. Since, brands like Symphony, Walton, Micromax, WE, Lava even Huawei have smartphones with high specifications in this price range. Most of them are offering much higher configurations than Nokia can provide. It is because Nokia is headquartered in Finland and the other brands in China, India or Bangladesh. So, Nokia has a much higher overall cost to run the business. You can see that the camera, video quality, display quality, etc. of Nokia 1 are much lower than the models from the other mentioned brands in this price range. Without competitive specs, Nokia won’t be able to come to the top in this market even if everything else is well maintained.
So, what is the big deal? The turning point here for Nokia is the concept of Android Oreo Go. They know that they can’t beat the Chinese in producing hardware and fine materials because of cost. But they have the intelligence to optimize the software and make it the deciding factor. Nokia 1 runs much faster with 1 GB RAM than many 2 GB RAM phones out there. It is merely because Android Go is highly optimized for Google products such as Google Chrome, YouTube, Play Store Apps, etc. For many people browsing, watching YouTube videos, chatting and playing games are the essential activities in a smartphone and they want faster performance for these activities. Nokia 1 is offering all of these in a significantly lower configuration. It is the big game Nokia came up with to compete with Chinese brands. Now, it is for us to see, if a higher number of people will understand the concept of “less is more.” Or they will keep preferring 2 GB RAM over 1 GB for the sake of simplification? Also, we will need to see if drawbacks like the poor camera and video quality in Nokia 1 would become a bigger deal for the consumers. There are also no significant marketing campaigns or online presence of Nokia in Bangladesh whereas many other brands are sponsoring national celebrities and have dedicated customer service. So, for now, Nokia grabbed the attention. Time will tell us about the sales.