Brace yourselves. Nokia is back in the Kenyan market. Or so I am learning.
According to Kaluka over at TechArena, the popular Finnish mobile phone brand, through its new “owners” HMD Global, is set to make a comeback with a launch slated for some time next week.
This will be the first time in years that Nokia will be having an official presence as far as smartphones go. With a new set of Android-powered smartphones, the Nokia 3, Nokia 5, unveiled in late February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, and the Nokia 6, launched in China a month earlier, Nokia might be ready to look for a second chance. Its first chance to right the wrongs it committed earlier and exorcise the ghosts of Windows Phone, which came in early 2014 with the local unveiling of its first Android-powered smartphone, the Nokia X, failed spectacularly.
This time round, though, this is a different Nokia with just the iconic brand name and logo being a constant. HMD Global, the company behind the current global Nokia push, has licensed the name from its original owners, Nokia itself, and makes the devices in China with the help of another partner in the venture, FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of renowned iPhone parts maker Foxconn, a Chinese technology powerhouse. FIH Mobile bought from Microsoft rights to make and market Nokia-branded feature phones like the remake of the popular Nokia 3310 which stole the show at MWC.
The latest Nokia devices have been making rounds in the Kenyan market, albeit unofficially, for a while now. Avechi Kenya and several other retailers in Nairobi have had the devices on sale for quite some time. The Nokia 3310, for instance, has been going for an overpriced Kshs 10,000 through third party resellers.
Nokia has never really left the Kenyan mobile market since its bottom of the barrel devices can still be found on sale in dealer shops across the country while its outdated, disgraced and aged Windows smartphones still gather dust, lonely, rejected and abandoned, in some shops across the country.