HMD Global to officially launch latest range of Nokia phones in Kenya this Thursday


Nokia phones are back in the Kenyan market, officially. Or at least they will be by the end of the week.

The devices are set to be officially unveiled at a launch event in Nairobi slated for Thursday, 27th July, which will be graced by HMD Global’s head of marketing for the Sub-Saharan Africa region, Michelle Wynne and the vice president, Justin Maier.

While the invite to the launch event doesn’t mention specifically which Nokia-branded phones we should expect to see come Thursday evening, we know better.

Nokia 3310 (2017)

HMD Global has so far released to the global market several Nokia-branded devices. The most notable one is, of course, the new generation Nokia 3310. The Nokia 3310 (2017) includes several marked improvements to its popular predecessor from 17 years ago, launched when a good number of the people reading were either toddlers or their idea of a phone was anything that closely resembled the television remote control.

These improvements include a slightly bigger (by just over an inch) coloured screen (over the monochrome display unit that was there at the start of the millennium), a thin and light design profile, more soft curves in place of the squared almost-sharp corners of the year 2000 model, a memory card slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a bigger battery, a camera as well as connectivity options that one would expect of a 2017 device like Bluetooth and microUSB. Since calling and texting, and well, playing the new snake game, is all that you are expected to do on the new Nokia 3310, there’s no 3G, it’s still good ol’ 2G. Like the real 2000s phone that the predecessor was.

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That we could see the device on a Thursday evening is even more perfect since that is the day social media users have usually set aside for sharing throwbacks and what better throwback can there ever be from a tech angle than the Nokia 3310?

Business people in Nairobi have had a field day selling the Nokia 3310 at an exorbitant Kshs 10,000. However, things are expected to change for the better should it become available through official sales channels. Kshs 6,000 or thereabout, an amount that already gets one a basic Android smartphone, is a more sane price point.

HMD Global and its partners have been busy over the past year working on the devices meant to bring back to life the Nokia brand. This year, it has so far unveiled 3 smartphones running Android that we can expect to see go on sale in the local market after this week’s official launch. These include the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6.

Nokia 3

The Nokia 3 is a lower mid-range device and one that is much more likely to resonate with many a Kenyan smartphone buyer than the Nokia 5 and 6. Given its pricing in the global market, it should go for way less than Kshs 20,000, bringing competition to a market segment currently dominated by budget Chinese smartphone brands like Tecno and Infinix. Its features include a 5-inch HD display, 2GB RAM, 16GB onboard storage, Android 7.0 Nougat, a MediaTek chipset, a pair of 8-megapixel cameras on the front and back, a 2,630mAh battery and 4G LTE radios.

Nokia 5

The Nokia 5 is a slight upgrade to the Nokia with a slightly bigger 5.2-inch display with a similar resolution. It also features a similar memory and storage configuration as the Nokia 3 but opts for a Snapdragon 430 processor from Qualcomm in place of the 3’s MediaTek 6737 chipset and a much more recent build of Android Nougat, 7.1.1. The back camera and the battery see a bump up to 13-megapixels and 3,00mAh respectively. The Nokia 5 should cost not more than Kshs 25,000 when it starts selling.

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Nokia 6

To justify its upper mid-range status, the Nokia 6 sheds the plastic bodies of its siblings the Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 in favour of an all-metal build. It also packs a bigger (5.5-inch) and better (full HD) display and a 16-megapixel camera at the back. The Nokia 6 comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB onboard storage. There’s a limited edition black 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage model, though. The other specifications remain the same as those on the Nokia 5. Its pricing should be Kshs 30,000 or thereabout. Thursday is not far away so we’ll wait for the specific details.

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