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All reports from MWC 2024 in Barcelona

HMD Global is best known for the production of phones under the Nokia brandbut this will change in 2024, and in MMC 2024 revealed his bold plan for the future. Mattel isn’t just releasing a phone for Barbie, but it also improves maintainability. In turn, the company is addressing one of the industry’s biggest missed opportunities – modular phones – by taking the concept in a new way.

Digital Trends Englishman and journalist Andy Boxall spoke to HMD Global head of product marketing Adam Ferguson via Zoom during the Barcelona show to find out more about the new name we’ll see on phones this year.

Ambitious plans

Promotional image from HMD Global showcasing its 2024 lineup of phones.

Ferguson started by making it clear that the company isn’t holding back when it comes to new plans, saying:

“As a brand, we have virtually limitless ambition when it comes to growth in the coming years.” But he’s also a realist, adding: “We want to make sure we don’t outdo ourselves when it comes to building this new brand. “There’s a lot to do, and we don’t want to jump into the fray with a huge thousand-dollar phone that’s going to ruin our chances.”

So Ferguson perfectly answers the question that will be on many tech fans’ minds: will we get a new competitor? Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra? It seems not, at least for now. In the future, HMD Global will be called HMD (which apparently stands for Human Mobile Devices). It will release a series of HMD Original phones that will occupy different price categories. However, the main focus will be on sustainability and maintainability.

Nokia G22 is disassembled into components.

“What we’re focusing on now is what’s always been very important to HMD: we have to give everyone everything we can, so we’re taking things like repairability and driving prices down to levels that no one else can ” seen before. “What you’ll see from us now is that repairability is going up and up the price scale.”

The first Original HMD smartphone will reduce the number of steps required to replace a broken screen – one of the most common, but also the most difficult tasks that can be completed on the current line of repairable Nokia-branded phones. However, in order to repair the phone, it will have to be disassembled, making it “modular”. This process brings us to HMD’s second and perhaps even bolder plan for next year.

HMD Fusion offers a solution for modular phones

Concept images of HMD Fusion smart outfits.

HMD Global has shown how serious it is about repairing phones like the Nokia G42, and further simplifying the process promises to make the first wave of HMD Original phones intriguing. But not as intriguing as HMD Fusion, the name given to its version of modular phones in the strictest sense of the word. The concept is that by using the yet-to-be-revealed base HMD Fusion phone, we will eventually equip it with so-called Smart Outfits that will improve its functionality. The twist is that HMD has opened up a set of tools for everyone to design these outfits, calling it a “blank canvas for creativity.”

Ferguson provided more details on what Fusion is, saying:

“It will be an HMD device and at its core it is a thin smartphone and if you were to use it on its own it would be a perfectly functional and very reliable phone. What makes it unique are the six-pin connectors that allow people to build their smart outfits around it, as well as the very simple Android software integration.

HMD gives several examples of what it hopes people will create with Fusion, from accessories such as barcode scanners and directional microphones to longer-lasting batteries and complex medical devices. While the Fusion doesn’t use the word “modular” to describe it, it’s certainly reminiscent of earlier iterations of the technology like the LG G5 and LG Friends, Motorola’s Moto Mods, and Google’s Project Ara. However, none of them lasted long, so what is HMD’s secret weapon?

“We are very aware that other people have tried something similar in the past,” Ferguson admitted. “The big difference between then and now is simplicity and ease. We will not retain ownership [de los Smart Outfits], so you can do whatever you want. “We have a simple hardware interface and a simple software interface, so let’s see what we can do together.”

Modular phones for everyone?

Friends LG G5

The way Fusion is described and the fact that anyone can download the development toolkit makes it seem like the Smart Outfit creation system is very accessible. But how true is this assumption and will HMD release its own line of accessories? Ferguson explained further:

“Will it be something that anyone on the street can pick up and create for themselves? No, it’s not for everyone,” he explained about Fusion’s simplicity, “so we’ll create our own set of smart outfits. But those people who want to explore the capabilities of the device and have a little knowledge about it, they are the ones who can go and do it.”

This gives HMD another interesting advantage over previous failed attempts at modular phones, as Ferguson noted:

“We have a slight advantage over people who came before in the sense that things like 3D printing and coding knowledge and things like that are in the public consciousness in a way that they never have been before.”

Coming this summer

Teaser image showing HMD's pixel releases this year.

Will this technically “new” brand be able to solve the modular phone conundrum that many others have failed in the past? We won’t have to wait long for our first look; HMD plans to release HMD Fusion in the summer, along with its first original HMD devices and the Barbie flip phone, created in collaboration with Mattel.

The company hasn’t yet revealed any design, other than the pixelated teaser image shown above, specifications or pricing for its new hardware, but Ferguson’s words about “unlimited ambition” should tell you that the company is taking its refusal to be famous very seriously. exclusively as the manufacturer of successful Nokia phones.

Interview by Andy Boxall

Source: Digital Trends

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