In keeping up with its ambitious plans of taking over the budget smartphone segment, Finnish company HMD Global today unveiled its latest low-cost device, the Nokia 2.2, in Kenya on the same day that it became available on sale not just in the country but other markets around the world as well.
The Nokia 2.2 features familiar design elements, like the notch that adorns the front HD+ panel, just like other similarly-priced devices in the market. Minus the “AI” features that HMD Global is banking its marketing on, it also comes with something we don’t see a lot these days: a removable battery!
It also has a dedicated button for summoning the Google Assistant and a permanent reminder that you get what you pay for with the microUSB port at the bottom.
HMD Global is promising the usual 2 years of OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates that it has become synomous with, for the Nokia 2.2
Other features of the device include, obviously, the 5.7-inch 720p LCD panel, a Helio A22 chipset from MediaTek, a 13-megapixel camera on the back that is seconded by a 5-megapixel shooter on the front, a choice of either 2 or 3 gigabytes of memory to go with either the 16 or 32GB storage configurations (expandable, of course) and a 3,000mAh battery.
Like previous “2” Nokias, namely the Nokia 2 and Nokia 2.1, it does not stray far from the Kshs 10,000 mark with a recommended retail price of Kshs 10,200.
That pricing brings it within the crosshairs of devices from Tecno, Infinix and Huawei that we have seen unveiled in the country during the first half of the year.
It remains to be seen if HMD Globa’s prompt software updates and a guarantee for a similar treatment in the future, in addition to the near-stcok Android experience, thanks to Android One, will work in its favour and lure the masses, in their millions, to the respected Nokia brand.
A recent report by industry research firm Counterpoint revealed that sales of smartphones priced at Kshs 10,000 and below had driven Tecno, itel and Infinix’s mother company, Transsion, to the top spot in the Kenyan market with a formidable 40% market share.
In a time when smartphone sales in the country are reported to have dipped by 2% year on year, two other Chinese smartphone brands, Xiaomi and Huawei, managed to register positive gains in market share thanks to similar low-cost offerings in the Redmi sub-brand in the case of Xiaomi and the Y-series in Huawei’s case. HMD Global does not get any mention in the report made public early this month.
The Nokia 2.2, if marketed well, has the best chance of not only changing that narrative but also introducing a whole new generation of users to the Nokia and “pure” Android world. In fact, for many, it could be the easiest ticket to giving Android Q a try.