Quick question: What is the one thing that you can associate with Nokia smartphones?
If you guessed pure Android software, you and I are thinking alike. The biggest selling point for the fresh crop of Nokia phones, under HMD’s guidance, is pure Android experience. And that is something Google pushed forward under the Android One programme, which HMD Global is an active part of. All of this may change. If this recent job posting is anything to go by, we may soon start seeing Nokia phones with custom software — and that will be the biggest setback to Google’s Android One programme.
HMD is hiring someone at the mid-senior level with knowledge of UX/UI design for mobile to “help execute a user-friendly design” for upcoming Nokia phones. As a UX designer, the hired person will look after an interesting portfolio. HMD wants this person to design graphic user interface elements, like menus, tabs, and widgets. This person would also develop UI mockups and prototypes “that clearly illustrate how the feature function looks like.”
Although HMD has not directly said anything, it is looking at tweaking the software experience on Nokia phones. And that involves moving to custom software. But there will be collateral damage. That damage would be ditching the Android One policy. As a part of the Android One programme, Nokia phones boasted being among the first ones to get the latest updates. This update process is the most streamlined one, the one that Google recommends for OEMs if they want updates nearly as fast as those for Pixel phones. And Android One is the perfect salvo by Google against Apple’s iOS, which is better in terms of bringing new features to all devices at the same time.
Android One has many benefits, timely updates being one of them, but there are many niggling issues. The first one is that there is no customisation, which means everything is so plain and simple. While software simplicity may be someone’s cup of tea, it is not for everyone. And that is why custom software is popular. And that is the reason that except for a few manufacturers, no other smartphone company has opted for Android One. HMD, too, probably wants out now. It is probably looking to see what it will be like if its Nokia phones were running custom software.
The change in the user interface on Nokia phones would be the second thing that HMD is looking at. The Finnish company is reportedly bringing a new naming convention for its smartphones. These new smartphones could debut at the upcoming event on April 8.