Nokia phones deserve second look, new PH chief of HMD Global says

By Ram Superable Agustin

While it is true that Nokia as a mobile phone brand has a colorful but tragic history in the recent past, its story is not quite done – at least not yet.

HMD Global general manager for the Philippines Sancho Chak

Nokia’s legacy of quality and durability is still evident in the new phone models that have been released under its new brand owner, HMD Global.

And with a new head honcho for its local office formally taking his post recently, the iconic Finnish phone brand is hoping for a renaissance of sorts.

In an exclusive interview with Newsbytes.PH, Sancho Chak, the new general manager of HMD Global for the Philippines, said Nokia will rely on its rich heritage and affordability to attract a whole new generation of mobile phone users.

Chak, who has been with Nokia and HMD Global for a total of 12 years now, said his company’s structure was set up to meet the fast pace of developments in the mobile phone industry.

“The demand from consumers for new specs and software updates is very fast. It is faster than we have ever imagined,” he said, noting that newer and faster mobile phones are being launched at a dizzying rate as of late.

Unlike during its glory days, HMD Global does not intend to make Nokia a “flashy” brand. Rather, Chak said the company will focus on creating phones that are reliable, robust, and affordable.

This does not mean, however, that HMD will scrimp on quality. All Nokia devices, he said, reflect a premium and durable build.

“Nokia actually granted us 10 years of authority to have the end-to-end management of the Nokia phones from manufacturing, research and development, to social marketing,” said Chak, adding its devices are “quite different from others in terms of the materials and craftsmanship.”

He added: “You can’t sacrifice too much. You cannot treat your customers so bad. Even budget phones must not be built on past technologies.”

Chak said budget devices do not need to sacrifice something as vital as build quality. He said making customers pay for an expensive phone with the latest specs but is underutilized is not the proper way to treat a customer.

“Customers have the impression that if they pay less, they have to accept the quality of a phone that is slower, does not perform well, and could be disposed of within a year.  But that’s the case with Nokia because it is a company that respects people,” Chak said.

The executive also said that all Nokia phones have a two-year warranty of support for major updates like upgrades to the next Android version, and three years of monthly security updates.

Chak said people who buy relatively cheaper phones should still enjoy monthly updates. “That is our goal because we respect people. We have monthly updates for every single product — from the budget, midrange, and the flagships,” he said.

He said Nokia also has the backing of Google and Qualcomm in the security department, noting that the Android One project has been the main driver for security and overall system reliability.

To demonstrate the value of its phones, HMD Global gave a makeover to the stock camera app of the first-generation Nokia 8. Giving a major app redesign to a one-year mobile phone is not a common occurrence and that’s what sets the Nokia phones apart, Chak said.

The official also said the upcoming “Nokia 9 is completely a breakthrough in the industry” and is set to redefine how Filipinos use the camera of their smartphones.

Two of notable features of the Nokia 9, according to Chak, are its ability to shoot RAW files and make simultaneous shooting with post-shoot focus editing enabled by five powerful ZEISS camera modules.

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