If anyone ever was a champion of Nokia flagship phones, it was yours truly. I cycled through them. Nokia 9210 COmmunicator. Nokia 9500 Communicator. Nokia E90 Communicator. Nokia N8. Nokia E7. Nokia 808 PureView. Nokia Lumia 1020 PureView. Lumia 1520. Lumia 950.
I was a fan of Nokia flagships. What was not to love about them? They had the best camera phones in the business, and I always want to have the best camera phones.
Some people are crazy about apps. I couldn’t give a chicken leg about them. Give me a phone with email, a capable web browser, good battery life, and a great camera, and I am good.
I’d take a few more apps, if they are available, but I can live without them.
The Lumia 950 and 950 XL were the last Nokia flagship phones before the old Nokia Mobile went away and before the resurrection of Nokia Mobile through HMD Global.
This new Nokia was in bed with Android OS, which is great. Now that Windows 10 Mobile was gone, we could all get access to the apps we love on Android, plus the Nokia legacy that we had grown up with.
But it wasn’t to be. First HMD Global took ages to give us the first Android Nokia flagship phone, Nokia 9 PureView. Oh, it was an endless cycle of rumours and leaks that spanned years before the phone finally arrived.
To make matters worse, it arrived with a camera that didn’t bang the way we all hoped it would. As I have pointed out before now, it is a great camera, but it’s greatness is not the kind that consumers drool over. The Nokia 9 PureView camera is better suited to professionals and people who love to tinker with settings.
How did HMD Global not get that memo? Who wants to tinker these days? Point; snap; upload. That’s how people roll now. And so it was that the Nokia 9 PureView has gone largely ignored by mainstream smartphone users.
It has been almost two years since the Nokia 9 PureView arrived, and the successor isn’t here yet. Another endless wait.
Rumours of an upcoming Nokia 10 PureView have started making the rounds. I doubt that the phone will arrive before the 2nd half of 2021.
The thing is, seeing the rumours have brought no excitement to me. I am not waiting anymore. The anticipation towards a Nokia flagship phone is gone.
To be sure, I have stopped being excited about flagship phones in general. Today’s flagships are overpriced and packed full of features that I mostly never use. It will take a shift in the dynamics of the market for me to get excited about premium flagships like I used to be.
For example, I love the concept behind the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, but there is no excitement about it. Foldable devices are intriguing. Yet, none of them have me drooling.
I believe that I have been spoilt. I have been spoilt by a mid-range smartphone that has a flagship grade camera, great performance, great battery life, and costs one fifth of current premium flagships.
This is what happened: I got my hands on Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro and it does such a fantastic job of keeping me satisfied that it is difficult to drool over the over-expensive toys in the market.
But beyond my general disinterest in flagship phones these days, HMD Global just isn’t getting it right with Nokia flagship phones.
For one, the endless delays have pushed people into moving on to other brands. Secondly, the flagship PureView cameras just do not live up to expectations any more. If you are going to make people wait, make it be for a worthwhile product.
Nokia flagship phones have lost the spice and bang that they used to have. The Nokia brand is doing well at the entry-level and mid-range markets. But flagships? Nah. I’d be gobsmacked to find any significant number of people who are earnestly looking forward to buying one in 2020. And if people have to wait till 2021 for the successor to the Nokia 9 PureView, the brand might just as well abandon the high-end market.