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Can Nokia really be saved by its recently launched flagship phone?

Earlier this year HMD Global revived the iconic Nokia 3310 at the Mobile World Congress, which made some waves, but not enough to elevate the business and market share to the likes of Samsung and Apple. So can its recently launched flagship phone, the Nokia 8, finally help to resuscitate the brand?

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According to a May 2017 report by IDC, Samsung commands 23.3 percent of the global smartphone market share followed by Apple at 14.7 percent and Huawei at ten percent. Nokia doesn’t even feature in the top five.

Closer to home, a TRA report for the period 1 April 2017 to 30 June 2017, shows that 81.5 percent of handsets registered on the UAE’s networks were smartphones. The iPhone 6 is the most popular model comprising 3.1 percent of total handsets registered on UAE networks followed by iPhone 6S at 2.33 percent. The third most commonly used smartphone is the iPhone 7 with a share of 2.25 percent followed by the iPhone 7 Plus with a share of 1.77 percent.

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That said, 34.5 percent of all handsets registered on UAE mobile networks were manufactured by Samsung with Nokia being the second most popular manufacturer with a presence of 22.9 percent. Apple manufactured the third most popular handsets used in UAE with a share of 15.5 percent.


Purely in terms of price points, the Nokia 8 remains more affordable at AED1699 versus the Samsung Galaxy S8 at AED2399 and iPhone 8 at AED2849. However, it does face stiff competition from the newly launched BlackBerry Motion – also priced at AED 1699.


In terms of features too, there’s nothing much setting the Nokia 8 apart. With similar dimensions, processing power, OS and RAM as the BlackBerry Motion, the only thing setting it apart is the camera. The Nokia 8 features 13 MP front and rear camera with flash unlike the BlackBerry Motion, which has a 12 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera and no flash. The Nokia 8 also comes with NFC technology and a barometer.

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It does seem that its flagship phone is Nokia’s attempt to tap into the millennial generation with features such as the “Dual-Sight” mode, which allows for the use of the front and rear cameras simultaneously; Live video streaming to Facebook Live and YouTube Live with a single touch; and “Nokia OZO spatial 360° audio”.

What does this mean for Nokia?

While globally Nokia – and BlackBerry – are massively lagging behind, the Middle East might be an exception to this trend considering that it comprises of countries with the highest Internet and smartphone penetration in the world. Additionally, as mentioned in the TRA report, Nokia is the second most popular manufacturer with a presence of 22.9 percent in the UAE.

Although brand Nokia’s revival is debatable, if there’s one place it might have a fighting chance, it is the Middle East.

Read: How BlackBerry took a great leap in global market