October 3, 2023
HMD says it is the first major global smartphone manufacturer to bring manufacturing to Europe, and the first phone off the line will be the Nokia XR21.
The manufacturer most famously produces Nokia branded phones. The new Nokia XR21 is aimed at enterprise customers and the USP appears to be its ruggedness. It has ‘military-grade durability certification’, an IP69K rating, and is certified to withstand dust, heat, impact, and water, we’re told.
The release makes a big noise about security and localised data storage. The phones undergo ‘rigorous software and malware testing’ in Europe, and consumer and corporate data from all smartphones made by HMD are stored and processed on HMD’s servers in Finland since 2019.
There’s also a lot of emphasis on sustainability. The chassis is made from 100% recycled aluminium, its two-day battery life supports 60% more charges over its lifetime, and ‘additional stages’ in the European production process will help to further reduce emissions – whatever that means.
“We are thrilled to be manufacturing the Nokia XR21, our signature rugged 5G smartphone, in Europe,” said Jean-Francois Baril, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of HMD Global. We are dedicated to investing in security, technology and manufacturing processes that make our devices more secure and longer lasting. Our future plans include further investment into software security, with the intention to offer customised software and security features directly to customers.”
To celebrate this bit of onshoring, some limited ‘Made in Europe’ editions of the phone will be made available, engraved with their own unique serial number and a certificate of origin in the box.
Perhaps now even more than when HMD started producing them, these dumbphones/feature phones appear to be finding a sizable audience. In August Counterpoint Research predicted that sales will reach 2.8 million in the US this year. A draw of these relatively low spec devices which can’t do much of the things we’ve come to expect from smartphones has been associated with a desire to ‘digitally detox.’
All in all it sounds like this is a relatively modest manufacturing operation when compared to what the smartphone manufacturing giants in East Asia churn out, but with so little of the action in Europe it’s still nice to see.
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