The brand new Nokia XR20 smartphone can take a beating


The Nokia XR20.

HMD Global

LONDON – The Nokia cell phone maker unveiled a range of new devices on Tuesday, including a “military” smartphone that can withstand extreme environmental conditions.

According to HMD Global, the Nokia XR20 is the most durable phone it has made to date. The XR20 features a sturdy 6.67-inch Gorilla Glass Victus display from American tech company Corning and can withstand damage from scratches and drops from around 6 feet, the company said.

It is known in the wireless industry as the “rugged” phone, a niche category in the market primarily aimed at extreme athletes and craftsmen. HMD hopes the Nokia XR20 will appeal to a mainstream audience.

In a marketing video, the company shows a woman spilling coffee on the phone and then rinsing it in the kitchen sink. A girl then accidentally drops the device before picking it up and dropping it down a rocky path. After all of this, it’s pretty much unharmed.

It suits a brand whose phones were known for their durability. The myth that Nokia phones are “indestructible” has been the subject of countless internet memes. According to HMD, the Nokia XR20 can be submerged in water for up to an hour and withstand extreme temperatures.

In addition to its robust references, HMD’s new smartphone supports super-fast 5G internet and has a 48-megapixel and a 13-megapixel main camera with two lenses. It comes in two colors: black and blue.

The Nokia XR20.

HMD Global

HMD is also throwing in monthly security updates for four years and Android operating system upgrades for three years.

Florian Seiche, CEO of HMD, said most people want phones that they can keep for longer. HMD is targeting both corporate customers and consumers with the Nokia XR20, he added.

“This meets many of the requirements for corporate equipment,” he said. “You don’t want to pay $ 1,000 or $ 1,500 for a purpose-built rugged device that is clunky.”

The Nokia XR20 starts at £ 399 in the UK and $ 549.99 in the US. It will ship from August 24th.

Niche player

The company has been trying to break a niche in the mobile phone market by selling low to mid-range modern revivals of retro Nokia phones and smartphones.

According to IDC, the smartphone market has struggled and only held a 0.6% share in 2020. That’s less than LG, which recently decided to shut down its cellular business.

However, HMD is a major player in the feature phone or “dumb phone” market, with its old school phones taking 16% of the market over the last year.

The company unveiled a modern version of the Nokia 6310 on Tuesday, which was introduced in 2001. The new 6310 only supports older 2G networks and is different from previous remakes that supported 4G.

The Nokia 6310.

HMD Global

According to HMD, this is because the target audience is people who are interested in Nokia’s legacy but only want basic text and voice capabilities.

The Nokia 6310 is available in black and yellow and costs 49.99 euros.

Other products presented by HMD on Tuesday were the Nokia C30, a € 99 smartphone with a large 6.82-inch display and four different Nokia earbuds. The premium Nokia Clarity Earbuds Pro are included with the Nokia XR20.

A shift towards selling online last year meant HMD “managed to stay profitable,” Seiche told CNBC. The company has also pushed into services with its own network called HMD Mobile.

However, Seiche added that a global shortage of semiconductor components could pose a challenge to HMD and other device manufacturers.

“We see that there is definitely an overall tightness,” he said, adding, “we might see some imbalance in the market,” as the demand for low-end models is quite high.