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$85 Nokia 1 smartphone with "Android Go" phone to bring PWAs to the masses

At Mobile World Congress 2018 HMD Global announced the Nokia 1. The $85 smartphone runs Android Oreo "Go Edition", a version of Android that has been tuned to work well on low specced hardware.

Nokia smartphones are designed and and marketed by HMD Global, the company who is licensing the Nokia brand from the parent company. Both companies are shared, and a lot of HMD staff are ex-nokians. Relations are close, but the two are separate entities.

In the MWC 2018 keynote a number of Nokia devices were announced. In terms of volume the most interesting option will be the Nokia 1. The device is a low cost smartphone, which aspires to deliver a no-compromise Android experience. With the $85 price tag the device will enable millions of new users to gain access to the smartphone ecosystem.

This is an interesting prospect for mobile developers, as it will open up new markets in Africa, Asia and South America. However maybe more interesting is the prospect for web developers, who can now create rich mobile applications using web technologies. These applications, known as Progressive Web Applications (PWA for short), run in the browser.

Google has been pushing the technology forward for some years now with Android devices supporting device specific features like home screen pinning and sharing using the native functionality via the webshare API. An added benefits of PWAs is that they require no visit to a separate app store.

The Nokia brand is no stranger to low tier smartphones. During the Windows Phone era, the Nokia Lumia 520 and other 500-series phones provided a fluent experience at a reasonable price. However, the whole Windows Phone ecosystem was eventually abandoned by Microsoft itself.

In 2018 it looks like Nokia and Android are in position to continue the mission of giving online access to the large masses who have previously not been able to afford a good smartphone experience.

Written by Jorgé on Sunday February 25, 2018

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