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HMD interview: Juho Sarvikas on what's next for the Nokia phones brand in 2021

From 5G phones to future plans and beyond.

Published onMarch 4, 2021

HMD Global has been producing Nokia-branded smartphones since 2017. In those four years, it’s prided itself on several tenets: solid hardware design, a clean version of Android, and a commitment to updates.

Like for so many brands, 2020 was a tough year for HMD. The COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-increasing competition in the smartphone space took their toll resulting in launch delays and lean sales.

How does the company plan to bounce back in 2021? We recently interviewed HMD Global’s Chief Product Officer Juho Sarvikas to cover this topic and more.

Read on for some highlights from our chat or watch the video above for the full interview.

The brighter side of 2020

nokia 8.3 backside 2
Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

It wasn’t all bad for HMD last year, as Sarvikas pointed to a number of bright spots for the company. More specifically, he noted the eventual release of the Nokia 8.3 5G — touting support for a staggering number of 5G bands — and the entry-level Nokia C series.

“We also expanded to a lot of new markets, for example we launched in Brazil,” the HMD executive explained. He added that the company also “increased” its presence in the US.

Looking to upgrade? The best budget phones you can currently buy

Brazil in particular can be a tough nut to crack for OEMs, with Xiaomi crashing and burning there in 2016 before a renewed entry into the market in 2019. Motorola, on the other hand, has long been a popular choice in the region. Time will tell if HMD can follow the latter to success.

What to expect in 2021?

nokia 8.3 3.4 2.4 together backsides 2
Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

Sarvikas outlined several plans for HMD in 2021, starting with a mass-market push for 5G.

“We see a great opportunity, in close partnership with Qualcomm, to deploy into more mass-market price points,” the executive says.

See also: The best 5G phones you can buy right now

This will see HMD Global join the likes of Motorola, OnePlus, Samsung, and Xiaomi in offering cheaper 5G phones (~$400 and under). Sarvikas also points to feature phones as being a focus for the company in 2021, saying that they’ll be offering 4G models with VoLTE.

Growth opportunities for HMD?

Nokia 5.3 camera module
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Aside from the aforementioned affordable 5G smartphone, low-cost smartphone, and 4G feature-phone segments, the executive also suggests that HMD has a growth opportunity with the enterprise segment. In the case of the latter, Sarvikas pointed to the brand’s privacy focus, its phones being on the Android Enterprise Recommended list, and its HMD Connect Pro offering.

Could there also be a space for a new premium flagship in 2021 two years after the launch of the Nokia 9 PureView? We’ll have to wait and see.

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