When Google launched the Prime it killed the Nexus line. No point in having a bare Android device when all you want to sell are Google services.
HMD Global isn't in the same boat and as a result the company appears to be looking to a strategy which creates a new Nexus from its Nokia brand.
Nokia's head of Middle East and North African operations, Per Ekman, told Gulf News that Android phones without any skins but with rapid updates, would be Nokia's USP.
It's an interesting strategy, which will work up until the point Nokia misses a release. Making it work long term is going to require some very specific wording around what will and won't be delivered by Nokia in terms of future updates.
If Nokia can pull it off there's a whole market out there waiting for it. The Nokia brand carries strong loyalty, especially in those markets 'owned' by Ekman. Nexus phones are popular everywhere. And delivering frequent early upgrades is something which will be welcomed by Android users everywhere.
However, none of this will work if the underlying devices are substandard. That means screens and cameras need to be class competitive and under-powered devices won't fly.
First goal for HMD must be for Nokia to overtake HTC in sales. The latter is doing badly and has poor market presence. Outselling them within a couple of quarters should be easily achievable given the advantages Nokia has. Anything less would point to a lame duck strategy and an admission that the Microsoft dalliance has destroyed the Nokia brand.