[10 Questions] Meet Miika Mahonen, Principal Designer, Product Management

dipankar paul
dipankar paul ✭✭✭✭

We sat down with a man popular on this Forum to learn a little bit more about his Nokia mobile story. He's the design brain behind the Nokia 7.2, Nokia 6.2, Nokia 800 Tough, Nokia G10, Nokia G20, and now, the stunning Nokia XR20.

Folks, say hello to @Miika Mahonen, Principal Designer, Product Management, HMD Global

Here are excerpts from our interview…

Hello Miika! Tell us, in a nutshell, who are you?

Finnish industrial designer. Currently Principal designer at HMD Global. Last project I worked on and finished was the XR20. Just turned 40 this year and currently live in Espoo Finland.

What’s your Nokia story?

My first phone was a Nokia. I was 16 when I got my dad´s old 8800i. It was so cool at the time :D I remember it dropped from my pocket when riding a motorcycle and we found it the next day wet in a ditch next to the road after a rain. I just put the battery back in and it worked perfectly. Really unbreakable!

I have had many Nokia phones; the latest one before the Android models was a white Lumia 1020. Really loved that phone too – minimalistic design and a great camera. Now I am using the XR20 in the Ultra Blue color.

Tell us what the journey has been like to get to where you are today…

I studied product design in Finland and my first job was in a yacht company. When I turned 28, I packed my bags and went to the United States to get a master’s degree in Industrial Design. After graduating I ended up working in Asia for 8 years. Now, I’m back in Finland and working at HMD Global HQ in Espoo.

The mobile device industry has evolved dramatically in the past 5 years or so. How have you approached change?

The development and evolution have been so remarkable. We might feel the devices haven’t changed so much in the past few years but when you really think about the functions, features, and services, it is a huge leap forward. Especially smartphones – they have become “tools for life” which you use to handle everything. Besides all your communication needs, you handle finances, medical issues, transportation - pretty much everything through the phone these days.

At HMD Global, our approach is to create these durable and beautiful objects for daily life. The XR20 is a great example of this. Mobile productivity that can handle anything. Secure and durable but also beautiful and refined. Something that feels personal and one that the user can be proud to carry.

Even personally, the XR20 type smartphone is exactly what I have been looking for. I might be in a cold place, on a ski ****, sending messages of new ideas to my co-workers. Or hiking and answer a few emails in the pouring rain. Great user experience in any conditions and I don’t have to worry about my phone breaking down.

How do you see HMD Global and Nokia Mobile growing as a consumer brand?

One of the things I love working on is bringing new and unique devices and services to market. We are working hard to improve the Nokia mobile products and evolve them for the future while celebrating the essential values like durability and simplicity. Also, we want to reinvent how Nordic design looks and feels in the future. Every product is important for us, and we want to make something that users can enjoy for a long time.

Tell us a little about yourself. Who is Miika Mahonen when he’s not at work?

Always been a tech fan. Love reading and watching science fiction. There is the element of envisioning what the future looks like that interests me. And now I get to do it even as a job 😊

Love cars and motorcycles. I got my first dirt bike when I was 8 years old and have been riding ever since. I ride around Finland on my motorcycle during summer. During winters I have been skiing since I was 5 years old and still hit the slopes regularly. I think the element of speed has always been a thing for me haha.

I am super active and I used to travel a lot before covid. I’ve been to around 20 countries so far. The last places I visited before covid were Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Bali. I love seeing different cultures and people. It keeps your mind open for new ideas.

Which book are you reading right now?

The upcoming movie Dune inspired me to read the Frank Herbert Dune books again. I read them last more than 20 years ago. They are so good!

Name three people – past or present – who have inspired you.

Alvar Aalto (architect)

Stanley Kubric (movie director)

Greta Thunberg (activist)

When it’s all done and dusted, how would you want to be remembered?

Not sure really. I suppose a guy that did get something good during his life haha.

Tell us something we don’t already know.

The latest thing I have got myself into is yoga. It’s an amazing way to work on both the body and the mind. I hope in the future I would have the chance to visit India to practise and learn more.

Finally, any message for our Fans?

I am so super happy to be in touch with Nokia fans. It is really important to us. And I hope we can offer some surprises in the near future 😉



  • praveenp
    praveenp ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2021

    Nice to know something off-beat about @Miika Mahonen

    From the excerpts, I can figure out one thing that the ideas to design the tough phones like Nokia 800 tough and the XR20 must have surely come from the experiences that Miika had during his life journey of 40 years, be it riding a motorcycle and dropping the old Nokia phone, or hitting the slopes regularly since the age of 5... Incidents like these are surely a part of the designing of the tough Nokia phones I guess...

    Also, the people whom he regard as his inspiration too seem to be having great impact on the Nokia phones line-up. Designing great phones like Alvar Aalto sculptures, having a uniqueness similar to the skills of Stanley Kubric, and keeping in mind the environment profile of the devices, like Greta Thunberg.

    And yes... I am expecting even more cool phones from Nokia, especially some reinvented Lumia phones on Android platform...

    You are most welcome to India for knowing more about Yoga, and also a meet-up where we all fans are looking forward for a great interactive session.

  • Lawss
    Lawss ✭✭✭
    edited September 2021

    Great to know that @Miika Mahonen designed the latest Nokia XR20.

    It's indeed nicely designed phone but am against heavy devices launched so far. Even compact devices can be more durable.

    So here's hoping for more compact devices in the future.

  • Felt good while knowing more about @Miika Mahonen who's behind the beauty of NOKIA Mobile Phones. I especially liked his work on the design of 7.2 and 6.2. 🙂

  • Great to know that @Miika Mahonen who's behind the beauty of Nokia Mobile Phones. I especially liked his work on the design of 7.2, 6.2 and Latest XR20. 🙂🙏

    IamMSDIAN ✭✭
    edited September 2021

    Hello @Miika Mahonen , Nice to hear your story, your love for NOKIA and Dedication towards it, It really Encourage us! And I must Say Nokia 7.2 , 6.2 and G20 are one of the Beautiest Phones I ever Seen!🙌👏💙

  • Nokia 6.2 and 7.2 are topnotch designs. However, HMD Global needs to put in more effort to actualise these designs. Great designs deserves great executions.

  • I would love to buy an XR-20 right now, but I can't because it is not certified (whitelisted) by AT&T in the USA. I need to buy a new phone soon b/c AT&T is sunsetting their 3G service in Feb 2022, and requiring HD Voice support for phones they will connect with.

    Do you have any comments on why the XR-20 is not certified now, and if it will be in the near future?.

    Thank you.

  • I use the XR20 on AT&T through one of their MVNOs. Works great.

  • graybeard21
    graybeard21 ✭✭
    edited September 2021

    dom d: To see the problem, see

    "Devices Working on AT&T Network After February 2022", dated September 9, 2021

    Click on "Find out if your phone will still work on our new network (PDF, 441KB)" to get the list.

    The XR-20 is NOT on that list.

    In fact, no X or G series phone is on the list, but three C series phones are!

  • Very nice to know about @Miika Mahonen sir! Also very glad to know about his design work! Nokia so doing very well in terms of design language,

    Sir @Miika Mahonen I would just like to request you to please try to reamagin the lumia design, I am sure you will end up with a great product! Alos i would suggest to provide an optional small/mini verson of the phone so that people who love small & compact phones will also have an option!.

    Finally, your idea & concept of the XR20 really amazed us! That's really an amazing device to consider. Very well done team we loved it👍 & also would expect the same durability in other nokia devices!

  • @Miika Mahonen Great to know that @Miika Mahonenwho's behind the beauty of Nokia Mobile Phones. I especially liked his work on the design of 7.2, 6.2 & XR20

  • How easy it is to ruin a brand name like Nokia. First, Microsoft did it. Then hope came as HMD, after using multiple devices, I can say, Microsoft was better.

    If anybody from HMD reading this, please give the phone business to Nokia back or just close it. In the words of Mr. Jobs, "Your idea is ****", "These products are ****". That's it. You know it, but you don't want to leave a good salary job.

    Here you are, just listening to blind fans, Nokia created a long ago. I predicted this a long time ago. God bless you for ruining such a good brand name.