HMD / Nokia smartphones join Google’s ‘top of the load’ Android One program – TechCrunch

Next to HMD Big bet on relaunching Nokia’s legendary brand and business with a licensing deal and a new wave of handsets it unveils today at MWC Barcelona, ​​the company also announced another exciting news : it has entered into a new partnership with Google, where HMD / Nokia is now a leading player in the Android One – a program in which Google aimed to reduce fragmentation between Android smartphones by specifying hardware, Google’s user interface and a commitment to regular security updates.

The Android One deal will see a list of Android-based devices from Nokia – the Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus, and Nokia 6, all running Android Oreo – enter the program in one go, a first for any OEM. Android, and that signals an interesting change.

“We have created a unique partnership with Google and it makes sense that we need to strengthen that partnership today,” said Juho Sarvikas, CPO of HMD Global, in his presentation today.

HTC, an existing leader in the Android One pack, has been battling in its own handset business over the sale of part of its business to Google. As of this writing, Xiaomi’s Mi A1 is the handset shown on the Android One homepage, but from what Xiaomi has told us, the company has no plans to launch any new handsets this time. week at MWC.

None of the other top handset makers like Samsung or LG announcing Android One devices – other Android One launches around MWC consist of two handsets from Spanish company BQ and another smaller existing Android One partner announcing a new device later this week – that leaves Nokia ‘top of the load’ on Android One for now, as a close source described it from Google to TechCrunch, and HMD himself also spelled out – during a pre-briefing before MWC at Google’s London offices.

“Nokia becomes the main partner of Android One”, Pekka Rantala, EVP and CMO of HMD Global said in an interview. “We didn’t have the capacity to go [before but now] we go portfolio-wide.

Android One actually exists since 2014, but last year he got a to reinforce with a greater focus on security and a wider range of partners, but Nokia will now take the lead, Jamie Rosenberg, the company’s vice president of Android, confirmed today.

“We are delighted to have Nokia as a partner,” Andrei Popescu, director of engineering at Google, said during the briefing. “We’ve done a lot of work to optimize this experience, and we think it’s going to be really good.”

There remains of course a question mark as to whether HMD will manage to reverse the trend in smartphones, with or without the Android One designation.

While smartphone purchases have been declining for several years, a small handful of brands – led by Apple and Samsung – have taken the lead in global sales, and the mighty Nokia has well and truly abandoned that race. .

Nokia made its debut as one of the pioneers of mobile and then smartphones, with its own Symbian operating system. Once a leader in the global smartphone market, Google’s entry of Android and the wave of OEMs it sparked, alongside Apple’s iPhone, quickly eroded that position. Nokia eventually moved all of its smartphones to Microsoft’s Windows Phone, before ditching all of that and now turning to Android in a much smaller, more modest round.

“We are so much more agile than ever,” said Rantala, positively. “It’s the height of the spirit. By working in partnership with Google, there are so many other things that are possible. “

HMD confirmed to TechCrunch that Google is not investing in the company declined to reveal how it is capitalized despite the company being closely linked to Foxconn, which manufacturers its Nokia devices.

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