HMD Is Making a Barbie Flip Phone (Also More Nokia Phones)

HMD Global has been making phones and tablets with the Nokia name since 2016, and today, the company revealed some of its plans for new devices in 2024, both with and without the Nokia name. That includes a Barbie-themed flip phone.

HMD Global, short for Human Mobile Devices, is the company behind most modern Nokia phones and tablets. The original Nokia company sold its mobile and devices business to Microsoft in 2013, then sold its feature phone business to HMD in 2016, so Nokia could focus on selling network equipment and other enterprise hardware. After Microsoft’s ambitions for Windows Phone collapsed, HMD received a license to sell Android phones with the Nokia name, which have ranged from capable to disappointing.

HMD confirmed again this week that it will start selling devices under its own HMD brand. There will still be some new Nokia devices, but it’s clear that the company is trying to expand beyond the Nokia name, which is probably a good move. It’s difficult to promote yourself as a hip and cool tech company when the Nokia name is still mostly associated with flip phones from the 1990s and early 2000s.

Corporate marketing aside, HMD shared a few details about its upcoming devices. The company will release another smartphone focused on repairability, as a follow-up to last year’s Nokia G22. HMD said in a blog post, “This summer, HMD repairability goes to the next level, substantially reducing the number of steps it takes to fix the screen.”

The big news here is the Barbie Flip Phone, developed in partnership with Mattel. It will arrive later in summer 2024, in the style of a “retro feature phone.” There aren’t a lot of details yet, but it will presumably use the same KaiOS software as the company’s other basic phones, and it will come in a hot pink color. The Barbie film by Greta Gerwig was a massive success last year, so it’s not a surprise Mattel is trying more licensing deals with companies like HMD.

It’s great to see HMD trying to compete more directly with Samsung, Motorola, and other budget smartphone makers, but software support has been an issue with its Android phones. With the $499 Google Pixel 7a getting three years of OS updates and five years of security updates, and some of Samsung’s budget phones promising four major OS updates and five years of security fixes, HMD needs to step it up to be competitive.

Source: HMD

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