What did HMD learn in Dubai?! Community focus group report.

Hi everyone, I said I had one more post to write about our trip to Dubai in December and this one is about the customer focus group which HMD held with us the morning after the launch of the 8.1 – so this post is about what HMD learnt from us!

What did HMD learn in Dubai?! Community focus group report.

madbilly madbilly
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Hi everyone,

I said I had one more post to write about our trip to Dubai in December and this one is about the customer focus group which HMD held with us the morning after the launch of the 8.1 – so this post is about what HMD learnt from us! Since it’s over two months since this meeting my memory is now quite hazy so please everyone else who was there, add what you remember and correct me where I’ve made mistakes. Also, a lot of the discussion was in Arabic which unfortunately I can’t understand, so I really hope that someone can write up those parts of the conversation.

We met a lady from the marketing team of the EMEA region, who is based in Dubai, as well as @edo and @IndiaFan (yes I found your new username, hi! ;)). Some other HMD team members were also present in the sidelines. She started by asking us what our pinch points are – the things we really value in a phone and can’t live without. This question is very similar to the poll which @matteo.m has posted here: https://community.phones.nokia.com/discussion/41759/poll-favorite-feature-on-a-phone

There was a wide range of answers to this question and lots of good discussion, much like the answers to the poll! For me, the real pinch point is network reception – there is no point having a mobile phone with poor network reception. One of the things I really value about Nokia phones is that I knew the reception would be excellent and this remains true with HMD phones. You can get a good idea of the quality of the network reception of HMD phones by looking at their radio emissions compared to other brands (https://www.bfs.de/SiteGlobals/Forms/Suche/BfS/EN/SARsuche_Formular.html?resourceId=6050984&input_=6008110&pageLocale=en&sarQueryString=&submit=Search and https://www.nokia.com/phones/en_int/sar) – higher emissions means the antenna has to work harder to maintain reception, therefore poor quality reception. At least, that’s my understanding – please correct my if I’m wrong.

Unfortunately network reception wasn’t included in the poll!

HMD were also interested in how important software updates are to us. This sparked lively debate especially as it was at the peak of the “where’s my pie!” questions on the forum. Some people wanted the updates as soon as possible, others weren’t particularly interested in updating to the latest operating system version but wanted stability/security and dependability. Personally, as I’ve said before, my order of priorities are 1. Stability – fix bugs and broken features and don’t give me new updates which break things! 2. Security and 3. OS version updates.

We also discussed the comparison of Android One / Pure Android vs the Chinese Nokia phones which have HMD’s custom software. @singhnsk was there to demonstrate the Nokia 7 to everyone and explain (with lots of agreement from many others present) that lots of people aren’t very interested in Pure Android or Android One (except for the updates aspect) and instead would like to have more features and capabilities like are available on HMD’s Chinese phones. This seemed surprising to the HMD staff, so I hope they are going to look into this more to make sure they understand why Android One doesn’t work for everyone and actually provide their customers with the Nokia experience they are expecting. My personal feeling was that Android One doesn’t feel like a Nokia, however HMD's Chinese Nokia phones have little touches to the software which do make them feel more like a Nokia!

Considering the duration for which Nokia phones receive updates, HMD were surprised when some of us said that 3 years is not actually that good. The problem is that HMD compare themselves to other Android manufacturers (I was told almost angrily that “Com’on it’s over 80% of the market man!”) whereas we were comparing the current HMD Nokia phones to the previous Nokia phones which ran Windows Phone/Mobile and Symbian. The Lumias in particular had great long term support and phones which received updates (security AND features) for ~5 years. HMD should not see other Android manufacturers as their competition in this aspect because actually this is a very low target to aim for! They should actually be comparing themselves to the old Nokia phones and also to Apple (whose phones seem to be receiving updates for ~8 years at present). I also explained that the “3 years of updates” is not at all clear to customers when they buy the phone – customers could reasonably expect that it means 3 years from the date they buy the phone, but HMD probably mean 3 years from launch (or do they mean 3 years from going on sale? – you see, it’s not clear is it!).

On the subject of how long phones will get updates for, I did point out that the Nokia 6 was reaching two years old and it was unclear for how long owners of this phone (and the 3 and 5 too) would receive updates for but unfortunately I did not get an answer. I would hope that security updates continue for at least one more year.

We were asked how important the brand of processor is to us. Is the brand more important than the capabilities? There were a wide range of answers to this too. Personally, having lived through several periods where Intel processors were overpriced even when AMD chips had better performance and more features, the answer was easy – specs win every time! For others it was clear that they will only be satisfied with a Qualcomm processor, and they probably have good reasons for that (I’m not so familiar with the mobile chip market as the desktop one).

A few important topics were raised by the other members of the community there:

  • @nokianchetan explained the difficulty of repairing small things on the current HMD Nokia phones, for example the camera glass which is easily broken can only be replaced by replacing the entire back panel of a phone. This is a problem for consumers because it means it’s much more expensive than necessary, but there’s also the wider environmental impact of people disposing of an otherwise perfectly fine phone.
  • @nitheesh questioned the lack of Miracast support even though other Android One phones support it. Thankfully, this now appears to have been addressed and HMD phones which are updated to Android 9 should have Miracast support – thanks Nitheesh! :smiley:
  • The importance of dedicated dual-SIM slots instead of hybrid SIM/uSD card slots was stated by several people there, firstly by @sajwaz and backed up by many .
  • Don’t get rid of the 3.5mm headphones socket! was stated a repeated by many as well. In fact, there was a general concensus that HMD should stop following pointless market trends like the notch and the removal of the headphone socket and concentrate on real innovation.
  • When will the Nokia 8 get a camera app which fully functions, doesn't have bugs and uses all capabilities of the dual-camera setup? No answer ;)

Comments

  • madbilly madbilly
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    A few suggestions for customisations were made such as providing updates to wallpapers, ringtones and notifications sounds consistently across all devices, e.g. via a dedicated app or as part of the regular updates. A simple example I gave was replacing the standard Google font with the Nokia Pure font. I also mentioned that icons in the old Nokia style would help and was told that this is something they are working on! I hope they didn’t mean the redesign (and poll) on the support app icon because that’s not what I meant at all….! Another helpful thing for me would be to stop GBoard typing Nikita every time I try to type Nokia…! (apparently I need to train it better, bad dog!).

    The final thing that HMD should really take note of the focus group is that not everyone had an HMD Nokia phone running Android! Many people were still using Lumias and they explained it was because HMD had not yet made a product which was good enough to convince them to change.

    So, everyone, @SeqTre, @nitheesh , @sajwaz, @singhnsk, @wilson shrestha, @"juho lemmetyinen" , @nokianchetan and @shaunmoroz , what did I miss out? :D And who else was there? Please tag them :smile:

    Cheers :smiley:
  • nitheesh nitheesh
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    First of all thanks for the nice topic @madbilly. Again you proved your memory power ;)
    Actually, I have forgotten some points you mentioned above. Thanks for remembering this again. :)
    • @nitheesh questioned the lack of Miracast support even though other Android One phones support it. Thankfully, this now appears to have been addressed and HMD phones which are updated to Android 9 should have Miracast support – thanks Nitheesh! smiley
    :# I am also surprised when I received miracast support.
  • madbilly madbilly
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    Thanks @nitheesh. I'm really not sure that I remembered everything in this case; there was a lot of discussion, and a lot of it was about people's individual feelings and opinions and in that case I'm sure I did not capture everything which was said and probably only remember the opinions that matched closely to my own! (I am only human, after all).

    I wish I knew a few more of the forum names of the people from the EMEA region who were winners of the parallel competition on Facebook/Instagram. I had a great time with everyone, I feel like we built some good friendships there and now I can "see" people when we discuss here in the forum, which is nice to be able to do.
  • petrus petrus
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    @madbilly ; Again beautiful discussion. Thank you.  :smiley:
  • nitheesh nitheesh
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    petrus said:
    @madbilly ; Again beautiful discussion. Thank you.  :smiley:
    I am waiting for another beautiful discussion from @madbilly. What did he learn from Barcelona??? :smiley:
  • madbilly madbilly
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    Thanks @petrus :smiley: @nitheesh I agree, I'm waiting too! :D What I mean is, I wish I had time to write it.

    Once I have sorted my notes I will try and post some shorter topics, as I think these long posts are not very easy for people to find time to read, and sometimes difficult to find the useful info.

    Anyway, when I've organised my notes, which may still take some time. Not too long I hope.
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