The smartphone competition is a very dynamic environment where mobile companies should continuously adapt to the evolution of consumer wants and needs. Gone were those days when we are only satisfied with the overall phone aesthetics, as we learn to make more intelligent choices for our first or next smartphone. It’s always a question of “who did it best?” – which smartphone has the best display, the strongest built, the clearest audio technology, the fastest processor, etc. And with the trend we are seeing these days, the attention of customers had greatly shifted to the question “who has the best smartphone camera?”.
Today, every mobile brand has their own “imaging technologies” proudly listed in their brochures and press releases. The photos shot with their smartphones are being shared non-stop in social media, especially in Facebook and Instagram, where the bulk of potential buyers are always online. And these “improvements” are not just limited with the rear camera. In fact, we love shooting selfies so much that most phone makers created handsets that can take stunning portrait shots with amazing front cameras to meet the demand of the mostly younger generation we call “millennials”.
With all the discussions about smartphone camera innovation, it’s quite noticeable that Nokia have not emerged as a dominant brand yet since its comeback last year. HMD Global is doing an awesome job in the development of the current line-up of Nokia handsets, being able to deliver the legacy of creating beautiful, durable, and high-quality phones straight from the original Finnish company. But despite all the work done, imaging is an area where we feel that there is still something lacking from the new Nokia devices.
A lot of factors can be related to the consumers feeling that Nokia smartphone camera technology is underwhelming. Let’s talk about these factors one by one and my thoughts about it.
First, there is a high bar of expectations that was set when it comes to imaging capabilities for Nokia smartphones. We witnessed how the Lumia handsets, despite not being successful in conquering the mobile communications industry, had created a unique name when it comes to smartphone imaging. Whether it’s a low-cost, midranger, or a high-end Lumia, camera is always part of the discussion. And this was not the case for the Nokia Android smartphones. Yes, they talked about Android updates, durable body, and faster data processing, but what about the camera? It’s obviously not a focal point to talk about.
Second, PureView technology is missing. As the flagship imaging feature of Lumia smartphones, PureView has been best known for its ability to do perform image oversampling, support improved digital zoom, and reduced noise. While we understand that Microsoft is currently holding the trademarks for the said technology, we expected HMD Global to either create a new innovation for their cameras (which is possible given that most of their employees were from the original Nokia company) or continue with their talks to bring back PureView. The second option might be happening at this point, so we hope that the upcoming Nokia handsets will be released with the PureView brand on them.
Third, the promotion of the Nokia smartphones was still not enough. I’ve reviewed the Nokia 5 and 6, and was able to test the camera of the Nokia 3 and 8, and the imaging aspect is really promising. But what can we do with these great smartphones if they are not properly being introduce to the consumers. In the Philippines alone, where competitors such as Oppo and Vivo are intensely promoting their products, we can strongly feel the lack of effort to make the Nokia devices known to the public. This is truly sad, especially for us who know that there is more to Nokia smartphones that just a nostalgia of the past.
It is high time for HMD Global to up their game in the smartphone competition. We’ve already provided our observations – now, it’s time for them to act on it before it’s too late. We can’t always wait for new products to deliver what the consumers want. It’s better to start acting where they can still improve the customer experience with Nokia smartphones.