Despite the earlier claims, it appears that Nokia will launch at least one of its handsets in The States this year – that being the Nokia 6 (2018) which will go on sale there in May.
The original Nokia 6 was sold in the US from last July and was available through retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy and B&H. The handset cost $229 and supported T-Mobile an AT&T’s networks, but not Verizon’s or Sprint’s (and it wasn’t officially sold through any of them).
Which networks the new Nokia 6 will support, where it will be sold, and its US Price haven’t yet been discussed, though it will cost €279 (~$340) in Europe.
Previous coverage (02/27): HMD Global’s impressive revival of the Nokia brand continued this past weekend at MWC 2018 with the launch of not one, not two, but five new phones. Unfortunately for US consumers, none of those devices will see the light of day in the states for at least a year.
The disappointing news comes straight from the Finnish firm’s CEO, Florian Seiche, who told CNET that a major push into the US market is “not a core focus for this year, but certainly it is on our roadmap”. Futhermore, he also remarked that if a US launch was imminent “I would have mentioned it [while on stage at MWC]”.
For those keeping score, that means the Nokia 8110 4G, Nokia 1, Nokia 6 (2018), Nokia 7 Plus, and the Nokia 8 Sirocco will not be available in the largest market west of the Atlantic until 2019 at the very earliest.
When asked if a future release would involve carriers, Seiche said it was “too early yet” to comment, and refused to be drawn on whether all or just some of the new devices would be released.
While HMD Global has dipped its toes into the US market in recent months with the Nokia 2, the original Nokia 6, and the retro-styled Nokia 3310 reboot, the company has generally focused on bringing affordable, secure devices running ‘pure’ versions of Android to consumers in Europe, India, and other emergent markets.
This approach has paid off so far, with the Nokia brand now dominating the feature phone space and making steady gains in the smartphone sector. According to recent data, combining results from the two puts HMD Global in sixth place in terms of global market share – an impressive feat considering we’ve only just hit the first anniversary of Nokia’s grand comeback.
That’s not enough for Seiche, however. “Our ambition is to become again one of the leading players, which means, top five or better in the next three to five years,” he said in the same interview.
Whether or not this is achievable – especially if you discount feature phone sales – is a huge question mark. What is obvious, though, is that HMD won’t be able to topple the biggest players in the industry long-term if it doesn’t have a solid plan for the lucrative US market (not to mention China).
With a true flagship now ready to hit the market in the Nokia 8 Sirocco, it’s certainly a shame to hear that it won’t go toe-to-toe with the likes of Samsung, Apple, LG, and Google, but Seiche is confident that its current roadmap is the right one, stating:
“That momentum that we are now creating in the markets where we are present helps us to capture attention from future possible customers or countries. We still have on our journey some big opportunities like the US to follow up on.”
What do you think of the news? Are you disappointed by the decision, or do you think HMD Global’s decision to bide its time is a smart move? Let us know in the comments.