Nokia lays out smartphone ambitions with new devices and another retro reboot

Mobile World Congress 2018: Nokia lays out its long-term ambition to become one of the top smartphone players in the world with five new smartphones and a revamped 8110.

2018 will be the year Nokia “doubles down” and attempts to break into new markets, parent company HMD Global says, as it looks to compete with the likes of Samsung, Apple and Huawei in the global smartphone market.

Speaking at a packed Mobile World Congress press conference on Sunday (25 February), HMD’s chief product officer Juho Sarvikas said 2017 had given Nokia the opportunity to “think differently in the technology race and refocus on what actually matters to consumers” – and that 2018 will be a “critical year” for the brand as it prepares for global expansion.

“Our long-term ambition is to be one of the top smartphone players globally,” Sarvikas said.

“This year we will expand our product portfolio, we will deepen our presence in markets we’ve already entered and we’re going to selectively go into new markets. We will bring innovation where it adds more to your life.”

READ MORE: Nokia – It will take us less than 10 years to catch Apple and Samsung

Last year, Nokia used the annual mobile and tech conference in Barcelona to bring back its iconic 3310.

Sarvinkas said on Sunday feature phones have always been a “key strength” of Nokia – and this year Nokia unveiled another revamp of a classic model: its retro slider 8110, aka the ‘banana phone’ from The Matrix.

The 8110 4G was one of five new models unveiled at MWC 2018, alongside the Nokia 6, which has built-in facial recognition technology that will allow owners to unlock it just by looking at it; the Nokia 1, an entry-level smartphone aimed at emerging markets; the ‘affordable premium’ Nokia 7 Plus, and Nokia 8 Sirocco, which carries the same price tag as Samsung’s Galaxy.

While there are no exact figures for Nokia smartphone sales, Counterpoint Research estimates Nokia captured around 1% of the global market in the fourth quarter of 2017, which translates to roughly 4.4 million phones sold. This compares to just 0.1 million in Q1 2017. However, it is still some way behind market leaders Samsung and Apple.