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Nokia touts an ‘asset-light’ approach to smartphone success

It’s actually working!

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A lifetime ago, Nokia dominated the entire smartphone industry. From tough-as-nails brick phones to flashy flip phones, everyone carried one of Nokia’s iconic lineup. Suffice to say, we wouldn’t have a flourishing smartphone market today without Nokia’s pioneering.

Sadly, Nokia’s exploits crashed and burned after Apple’s more aggressive marketing. Today, the market consists almost exclusively of thin slab phones. With that, Nokia bowed out to a thinner form factor. The company sold its mobile assets to Microsoft.


After several years, Nokia eventually regained rights to make new phones through a licensing deal with HMD Global. Now, the company is on track to make another killing in the market.

Talking to press in India, HMD Global VP and Country Head Ajey Mehta detailed Nokia’s roadmap for market dominance. Additionally, he explained how his brand got back to a respectable position today.

As opposed to hardware-driven brands like Samsung and Apple, HMD Global prides itself with success “built purely on partnerships.” Tagged as an asset-light approach, Nokia’s phones stand because of hardware from Foxconn and software from Google. Even now, Nokia’s new generation is a champion of Google’s Android One program. Going forward, Mehta sees this approach as a vital key to further success.

Additionally, Nokia’s current lineup runs the whole gamut. Initially, the company resurrected with a plethora of feature phones. Now, they offer a model for all market segments. Despite the free-flowing approach, HMD Global still chooses one or two models as champions for the Nokia brand. With this, Nokia can maintain a wide variety of products while specializing in a specific segment.

In terms of marketing, Nokia understands its distribution streams. Online, the brand sees more short-term spikes in sales because of the specs-dependent consumer. On the other hand, offline selling offers longer-term but slower growth.

Overall, Nokia’s strategy caused an unbelievable growth margin at a recent Counterpoint survey — growing by almost 800 percent. Based on trends alone, Nokia is on track to surpass several brands in the future. Indeed, Mehta claims that the brand will rise as a top three smartphone in the next three to five years. If anything, the company has proven that its asset-light strategy works.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that Nokia is the most nostalgic item in the smartphone industry today.

SEE ALSO: Nokia 3.1 Plus is a budget friendly phone with dual cameras

Enterprise

Huawei’s phones can’t use microSD cards anymore

Another casualty of the ban

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Everyone knows what happened to Huawei. As the week winds down, the Trump ban is dismantling the Chinese company piece by piece. Most notably, Google has stopped its business dealings with Huawei. Soon after, hardware company ARM ceased support for future Huawei chips. Huawei has lost considerable support on both hardware and software sides.

Now, the company has lost another major backer. Reported by Nikkei Asian Review, the SD Association has revoked Huawei’s membership status. As the name suggests, the trade group dictates the SD and microSD standards of the industry. The Chinese company cannot use the standard for future devices anymore. Fortunately, Huawei can still use the memory cards for existing phones.


However, the latest bridge-burning has drastically changed the company’s future. Given everything, Huawei’s future does not include Google, ARM, and microSD extensions, among others. All three components are major parts of today’s phones.

Fortunately, the loss of microSD support isn’t a deadly deal. Huawei can still use other standards for memory card extension. The company also has its own proprietary standard called the Nano Memory Card. Of course, proprietary hardware is almost always a turn-off. Despite cushioning the SD Association loss, the Nano Memory Card isn’t as appealing as the universally available microSD card.

In other news, Huawei has also “temporarily” lost access to the Wi-Fi Alliance. Much like the SD Association, the Wi-Fi Alliance dictates the connectivity standards of devices. Thankfully, Huawei can still use Wi-Fi in its devices. However, the company cannot participate in any discussions to shape Wi-Fi’s future.

Likewise, Huawei has voluntarily withdrawn from JEDEC, a trade group that defines semiconductor standards. As with the Wi-Fi Alliance, the company cannot contribute to any future discussions.

Fortunately, both restrictions don’t impact the company’s future as much. However, Huawei’s future is slowly moving away from industry standards. If the company hopes to survive, Huawei must develop its own proprietary hardware or find replacements elsewhere.

SEE ALSO: Philippines: Huawei ban ‘will have a little impact’ on the country

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Philippines: Huawei ban ‘will have a little impact’ on the country

States the Philippines’ robust cybersecurity measures

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Throughout the past few days, the Huawei debacle has devastated companies and consumers across the globe. Everyone is falling for the fear. Huawei’s long-standing suppliers have cut ties with the company. Huawei’s consumers are getting rid of their favored headsets. The wave has swept the whole world.

Naturally, the Philippines isn’t immune. Recently, smartphone retailers and resellers have started refusing Huawei devices from their stores. Local Huawei users can’t easily sell their devices to the second-hand market anymore.


However, an important question still stands. How much will the Huawei ban affect the Philippines?

Of course, the ban originates from Trump’s trade war against China. Among other reasons, the American government cites the company’s inherent cybersecurity risks as the prime motivator. Supposedly, Huawei’s telecommunications hardware can transmit valuable data to the Chinese government. Given the Philippines’ proximity to China, are we also at risk?

According to the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Huawei’s ban “will have a little impact in the Philippine telecommunications industry.” Shared through a Facebook post, the DICT assures users of the country’s robust cybersecurity measures. As of now, the department has not reported any cybersecurity breaches coming from Huawei equipment.

Likewise, shortly after the news broke, local telcos confirmed continued support for Huawei’s devices. According to the DICT, “they will diversify in their present and future procurements of equipment to make their networks more robust and future proof.” The department is also imposing strict rules on local telcos regarding network monitoring. The statement also quickly adds the imposition of the same rules on a potential third telco.

Is the DICT’s statement believable? For now, Huawei’s impact is still marginal at best. Companies and consumers are going on the perceived risk of the future. Right now, Huawei has not announced drastic changes to its products yet. Existing Huawei products still support Google.

Of course, cybersecurity is another issue. The risk will always exist when foreign companies control the telecommunications equipment of another country. At the very least, the DICT isn’t treating the whole debacle as a non-issue. Hopefully, the department’s promises are an optimistic sign for the country’s telecommunications industry.

SEE ALSO: Huawei granted 90-day extension before total ban

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Report: Huawei to lose support from ARM, hampering its own chipsets

Things are getting even worse

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Despite Huawei’s gradual loss of support from US-based companies such as Google, Intel, and Broadcom, the Chinese manufacturer has faith in its ability to produce its own replacements. However, with the latest development, even that strategy may be facing a potentially catastrophic obstacle.

BBC has reported that chipset designer ARM informed employees to halt all business with Huawei. ARM is a vital resource for most mobile devices, because even though some brands like Samsung and Huawei can produce their own system-on-chip (SoC), the technologies need to be licensed from ARM before production.


Since ARM is based in the UK, this added blacklisting wasn’t seen as a possibility at first. Unfortunately, the company appears to be complying with the US’ trade ban, the reason being that its designs hold “US origin technology.”

Huawei’s semiconductor firm HiSilicon creates the Kirin processors found in the majority of the company’s smartphones and tablets. Most, if not all, require the ARM license. According to the same report, the upcoming Kirin 985 is clear of the ban, but anything after that will most likely have its production halted.

While Google and Huawei were given an additional 90 days to sort these issues out, no such order was given to ARM just yet, saying that the closed communication takes effect immediately. Huawei hasn’t given a statement about this as of writing.

Huawei is said to have enough components and licensing to last several months to a year of production, but that would only be a short-term solution. What lies ahead for Huawei may only get worse as more bad news rolls in.

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