When HMD Global took up Nokia’s legacy, it wanted to make a good impression in the Android market. It set out to outdo larger companies by offering something those behemoths are rarely able to, promising long periods of software updates or “pure” Android experiences. Over time, however, the Android landscape has shifted a bit, and more phone makers are starting to do right by their customers. Ironically, it seems that HMD Global is now experiencing at least one problem in keeping that promise and is advising people to buy a new Nokia phone instead if they really want Android 11.
At the center of this small drama is the Nokia 9 PureView. Launched in 2019, the phone is one of the few Nokia models that could be considered a flagship, even if its Snapdragon 845 processor is behind the times. Its claim to fame is its PureView name, inherited from the Nokia 808 and Nokia Lumia 920, as well as the unique penta-camera system.
That feature, unfortunately, might be the cause of its early demise as well as HMD Global’s embarrassment. The phone launched with Android 9 and was promised both Android 10 and Android 11. It did get that promised Android 10 update, but the ball will stop rolling after that, removing any hope of Android 11 and beyond.
According to HMD Global‘s official statement, the difficult decision was reached because they couldn’t get Android 11 working in a way that meets the company’s high standards. Specifically, it found incompatibilities with the phone’s cameras and Android 11 software that were either insurmountable or not worth the effort. HMD Global decided to just give up and make amends in other ways.
On the one hand, HMD Global might not be completely at fault here. The cameras were made by a company named Light, which exited the smartphone market last year. That might have made it difficult for HMD Global to collaborate on issues surrounding the unusual camera setup. On the other hand, HMD Global should have probably held Light accountable with some sort of agreement that legally binds Light to provide support for those cameras until after the Nokia 9 PureView’s end of official support.
Unfortunately, we aren’t privy to negotiations behind the scenes, and we’ll have to just give HMD Global the benefit of the doubt. It isn’t leaving Nokia 9 PureView without some compensation, though, and is offering a 50% discount on purchasing a Nokia XR20 or other phones. That is if they’re really intent on using an Android 11 phone.
That also does suggest, however, that support for the Nokia 9 PureView might be coming to an end really soon. Although the company isn’t saying anything yet, future security patches could become more difficult as well due to that same situation. While other Nokia phones aren’t as eccentric as this, it might raise some questions about whether HMD Global will use the same excuse when it runs into similar roadblocks in future phones.