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Nokia Updates Smartphone Line With Affordable New Models

May 29, 2018, 6:36 PM UTC

The return of the Nokia brand in phones rolled forward on Tuesday, with a series of updated devices. HMD Global, the Finnish startup run by former Nokia execs that makes the branded phones under license, introduced three new Nokia smartphone models running Google’s Android software at an event in Moscow. The upgraded phones get the Google Assistant for the first time.

Leading the pack is an update of the company’s Nokia 5, dubbed the Nokia 5.1. The device this year has a slightly larger 5.5-inch screen in a slightly thinner body. HMD says the phone’s MediaTek Helio P18 processor offers 40% faster performance than last year’s Snapdragon 430 chip from Qualcomm. The back camera has also been improved with higher resolution on the phone, which will start at 189 euro, or $218.

In the middle tier, last year’s Nokia 3 gets upgraded to the Nokia 3.1. It also gets a slightly larger screen, now up to 5.2 inches, a faster processor and upgraded camera. HMD said last year’s Nokia 3 was its most popular selling smartphone, and the new model will likely do just as well at a starting price of 139 euro, or about $160.

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And at the bottom, HMD upgraded its Nokia 2 phone, only seven months after it was introduced, to the Nokia 2.1. The new model gains a larger 5.5-inch screen and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, giving it a 50% speed boost over the original. It is priced at $115.

All three new phones are scheduled to hit the markets initially in July. Only the 2.1 and 3.1 are expected for the U.S. market, likely by August, an HMD spokesperson said.

The startup reignited the once dominant Nokia brand last year with a series of all-new smartphones and revived simpler phones from some years back. In a $100 million fundraising round last month, HMD was valued at more than $1 billion. CEO Florian Seiche, who worked at Nokia, HTC and Microsoft before helping found HMD, has said the company aims to rank among the top smartphone makers worldwide. HMD had a net loss of $77 million on sales of $2.1 billion last year after shipping 70 million phones, and plans to use the cash infusion to expand its device portfolio and retail reach.