The Nigerian smartphone market is buzzing with competition, spearheaded by TECNO, Infinix, itel, and Xiaomi. Are the new HMD phones competitive enough to go up against the top movers and shakers?

HMD phones in Nigeria

HMD Global is the company that has been behind every Nokia phone manufactured since 2016. That was the year when Microsoft Mobile sold its feature phone business to the rights to use the Nokia brand on all types of mobile phones and tablets worldwide until 2024. Well, this is 2024 and it is not likely that HMD Global would be able to renew that agreement. So, what have they done? They have made the move to produce phones under their own brand name, HMD.

So, every time you see an HMD phone, you are looking at the same heart and soul behind Nokia phones. They just can’t use the Nokia brand anymore. But HMD is doing more than just rebranding, at least from what I have seen so far. The Finnish company is also changing the design approach to their smartphones. Who hbis a good thing. So far, 6 new HMD phones have been announced this year, and there are about 4 more in rumour stage.

The good news for the Nigerian smartphone market is that at least three of those new HMD phones have now gone on sale in the country. They are HMD Pulse Pro, HMD Pulse Plus and HMD Aura.

HMD Pulse Pro

HMD Pulse Pro comes to the table with a 6.56″, LCD, 90Hz screen, a Unisoc T606 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB inter al storage, 5000mAh battery, and 20W fast charging. It has a ₦300,000 price tag at the moment (we know how these prices can change).

With a Unisoc T606 chipset, the Pulse Pro is a hard sell for ₦300,000. Why? Let’s compare it with the Redmi Note 13 for a bit. The Redmi has a better display, better processor, has 5G, a better main camera, faster charging, and costs about ₦266,000 only.

Still not convinced? Let’s compare it with the Samsung Galaxy A15. The Galaxy A15 has a better display, better processor, better main camera, faster charging, and it costs ₦285,000. Still a better deal than the Pulse Pro, and Samsung is already getting its ass kicked in Nigeria by Transsion and Xiaomi. See the picture clearly now?

I am not saying that the HMD Pulse Pro won’t sell. Every phone sells. The question is, “In what numbers?” And the answer to that is clear: it won’t sell in great numbers. It is just as simple as that. If other HMD phones are priced similar to how the Pulse Pro is, then the brand will not be achieving significant market share in Nigeria.

HMD Pulse+

The next HMD phone on sale is the Pulse+ (Pulse Plus). With a 6.56-inch 720p LCD screen, Unisoc T606 processor, 8MP selfie camera, the 4/128GB variant goes for ₦210,000.

HMD Aura

And our third phone is the HMD Aura, a 4G smartphone with a 6.56″ LCD screen, a Unisoc SC9863A1 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, 5000mAh battery, and 10W charging. It is currently selling for ₦170,000.

Looking at the current catalogue of models, the prospects for HMD phones in Nigeria doesn’t look exciting. Not with those lowly Unisoc processors and mid specs sheets we have looked at above. For one, techies and tech-savvy people will likely not touch them. Non-techies don’t care that much about specs and will buy them if the looks appeal to them. But then, we also know that quite a number of non-techie people turn to techie folks for phone buying advice.

Anyway, it is good to have HMD phones selling here in the country. More are definitely on the way. The more, the merrier. HMD is here and ZTE is making a move, too. Who else is opening shop in Nigeria in 2024?

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By Mister Mobility

Nigeria's foremost tech blogger and smartphone reviewer. Call me Daddy.

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