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Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

HMD moves past Nokia, ready for Barbie

The next HMD phones won’t always sport the Nokia name, but they’re also set to deliver retro chic with Barbie.

For the last few years, HMD has been better known by Nokia, with the brand producing models that sported a very Nokia look, some of which even carried the classic game Snake on them. In the not-too-distant future, though, HMD will be its own thing.

With Mobile World Congress on overseas, we can expect a bunch of new phones, and HMD is one of the first to talk about what’s next.

So what’s next as the company moves on from just making Nokia phones?

It turns out we can expect at least one more Nokia phone — something the company says is “iconic” — plus improvements to repairability, a way to make phones fit more needs, and even a phone that calls up the retro chic vibe of Barbie in the 90s.

HMD appears to be embarking on a strategy to make itself different from every other smartphone maker by focusing on different needs.

For instance, it will grow its repairable devices with more than just repairable Nokias, but more repairable phones in general. The company says in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, phones you could easily repair made up one quarter of HMD phone sales last year, with those numbers expected to grow.

To make this happen, HMD says its future repairable phones will make it easier to fix a broken screen, what is easily one of the most common reasons people take their phones to a repairer. They may even be able to fix it themselves.

Beyond repairability, the company is talking about making their devices fit other purposes, such as adding a bigger battery, providing barcode scanners, or even connecting medical equipment, a concept called “HMD Fusion”.

It may not be for most people, but this modular approach could give HMD something different for businesses needing just a little more than just a smartphone.

HMD Fusion may even be the version of a smartphone for people who like to hack, tinker, and play with their devices.

And finally, there’s even an HMD coming that’ll be designed in conjunction with Mattel.

Hot on the heels of last year’s Barbie movie, the Barbie Flip Phone will be a retro handset that looks a little like a pink flip phone, but will skip the foldable screen we’re used to seeing in modern equivalents.

Rather, it’ll hark back to the days before the big touchscreen dominated our lives, offering a digital detox of sorts, which likely means buttons and a screen in a flip-style.

“Our commitment to human-centred innovation has spurred our expansion, unlocking new prospects for us and our collaborators, and has been a driving force behind our adoption of a multi-brand strategy,” said Lars Silberbauer, Chief Marketing Officer at HMD.

“We take pride working with remarkable partners and are excited about extending our collaborative efforts with dynamic new partners like Mattel,” he said. “Barbie and HMD are on a mission to shake things up with a new flip phone coming this summer.”

By “summer”, Silberbauer likely means winter in Australia given the seasonal differences, but beyond that, little is known. As with all major technology conferences and expos — just as it was with CES this year — there’s no news as to when Barbie’s phone will officially land or what it will cost, nor with the rest of the 2024 HMD line-up, but when it happens, we’ll let you know.

Given the pink flip phone in the background here, there’s a pretty neat suggestion that this could be the Barbie phone.
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