Nokia Smartphone Brands Returning to the U.S.

Jun 27, 2017

Nokia has been a non-factor in the U.S. smartphone market for a while now, but the storied brand is poised to make its return within weeks.

Instead of competing head-on with Apple and Samsung at the high end of the market, however, Nokia licensee HMD Global is coming back with a cheap smartphone designed to attract people who want to spend less than $700 on a phone—a lot less. Though the new Nokia 6 has a metal body, a 5.5-inch screen and 32 GB of storage like more expensive phones, it will sell for only $229 on Amazon.com. The phone will run the "Nougat" version of Google's Android software.

HMD, a startup formed by former Nokia executives, says it can offer just as good an experience for customers as the more expensive devices on the market. "We are proud to offer American consumers a smartphone option that will not require them to sacrifice quality for cost," Maurizio Angelone, HMD's vice president for the Americas region, said in a statement.

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But The lack of direct support from the big U.S. carriers will be a problem for some consumers. The phone won't run on the networks of Sprint (s) or Verizon (vz) and will be limited somewhat in achieving full performance on AT&T's (t) network, HMD says. That leaves only T-Mobile (tmus) subscribers to get full 4G-LTE support from the Nokia 6.

Nokia has two even cheaper phones, dubbed the 3 and 5, that could eventually make it to the u.s. market as well.

Foxconn, the Chinese outsourced manufacturer that also makes Apple's (aapl) iPhone, makes the new Nokia (nok) models. In addition to the brand license deal with Nokia, last May Foxconn and HMD paid $350 million to Microsoft (msft) for the assets to manufacture the new phones.

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