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!
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: