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How to Decode Nokia’s Smartphone Chip Selection

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Apr. 3 2017, Updated 8:05 a.m. ET

Up to seven handsets in 2017

Nokia (NOK) is believed to be preparing to launch between six and seven handset models in 2017. It has already unveiled four models, including the returning legacy Nokia 3310. According to supply chain rumors, including a report by Nokia Power User, Nokia and its manufacturing partner, HMD Global, have two more handsets in the pipeline that could be unveiled soon.

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Eye on budget market

The two devices are believed to be called Nokia 7 and Nokia 8, with the Nokia 8 being the higher-end model of the siblings. However, both are expected to be powered by Qualcomm’s (QCOM) Snapdragon 660 chip. 

The Snapdragon 660 isn’t the fastest processor in Qualcomm’s portfolio and if indeed Nokia has chosen it for its Nokia 7 and Nokia 8 devices, there is a signal to be deciphered in the move. It shows Nokia is focused on enticing budget consumers, a strategy that could bolster the company’s competition in emerging markets such as India. Samsung was the top smartphone vendor in India by market share in 4Q16, as shown in the chart above.

What does the Nokia 8 look like?

The rumored specifications of Nokia 7 and Nokia 8 handsets further provide clues about the market Nokia is targeting. While the Nokia 7 is expected to come with a 1080p resolution screen, the Nokia 8 is rumored to sport a QHD display. The devices are also alleged to come with RAM of 4 GB to 6 GB, which would be a good fit for entry-level to moderate consumers.

It seems Nokia is trying to avoid a head-on collision with Apple (AAPL), Samsung (SSNLF), and Microsoft (MSFT) in the premium smartphone market early on as it returns to the scene after a two-year hiatus.

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