HMD Global announced today that they will be expanding further into the Canadian market by venturing into the carrier market with the launch of the Nokia 2.1 smartphone.

HMD is releasing the device through its recent partnership Chatr, which is operated by Rogers Communications Canada Inc. HMD Global purchased licenses to the Nokia mobile phone brand from Microsoft Corp. in 2016, which acquired it from Nokia in 2014.

While this is the first device released into the Canadian carrier market by HMD Global, it launched five new devices in Canada in 2018.

“We started our approach really incrementally in Canada,” said Cristian Capelli, the head of business development, Americas, for HMD Global. “We really wanted to check how the consumers were reacting to the brand. We realized that the Nokia brand still resonated very well to the consumer.”

The Nokia 2.1 is being marketed as a phone that is perfect for entertainment needs due to its large 5.5-inch HD screen, dual front-facing speakers, and a 4,000mAH battery with an impressive estimated life of two days. Capelli said that they took a look at the Canadian market and realized that there was an opportunity to fill a gap with the Nokia 2.1, and saw Chatr as the right partner to bring it into the Canadian carrier market.

“When you look at the Canadian market in terms of prepaid and the kinds of consumer, I think the valuable position that Chatr is offering is really the one we designed the 2.1 for,” said Capelli. “So there was really a match in my mind.”

HMD is targeting a consumer that’s on the go and wants a smartphone that can keep up with them, he says. There was also an effort to work closely with Google’s Android team.

“What sets us apart is our implementation of Android,” Capelli said. “We really deliver the latest and greatest of Android experience and we keep it up to date. Our device keeps getting better.”

The Nokia 2.1 is equipped with Android Oreo (Go edition), featuring a new range of apps from Google which have been optimized to consume as little data as possible while still providing a fast and smooth experience. While their implementation of Android will be new to the Canadian consumer’s experience with Nokia mobile phones, Capelli says they still bring all of the quality and durability that the consumers came to expect with Nokia phones in the past.

“Everybody remembers Nokia phones. Nokia means the same thing to the consumer across the world. People remember Nokia because of quality. The device is indestructible. They are easy to use. Emotionally there is a strong connection between consumers and the Nokia brand. In terms of design and quality of material we want to live up to the promise of what we always did.”

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