Nokia Comeback: Finnish Phone Maker Announces Return To Smartphones And Tablets Market

Nokia, once the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, is all set to make a grand comeback. In a press release issued today, the Finnish company announced its plans to return to selling phones and tablets.

However, there are slight changes. Instead of manufacturing the devices themselves like they earlier did, Nokia will outsource the manufacturing part to a newly formed company, HMD Global, which would make smartphones and tablets for Nokia.

An excerpt from the press release reads as follows.

“Nokia has announced plans that will see the Nokia brand return to the mobile phone and tablet markets on a global basis. Under a strategic agreement covering branding rights and intellectual property licensing, Nokia Technologies will grant HMD global Oy (HMD), a newly founded company based in Finland, an exclusive global license to create Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets for the next ten years.”

The terms of the agreement say that Nokia would receive royalty payments for the sales of all Nokia-branded products. Nokia has also tied up with FIH Mobile, which will acquire the rights to manufacture Nokia feature phones. FIH has also acquired Microsoft Mobile Vietnam, which employs more than 4,500 people. This facility would be used to make Nokia-branded feature phones that still remain popular in several pockets across the developing world.

While Nokia reaffirms that its feature phones business would continue, the most significant announcement that came today was the fact that future Nokia smartphones and tablets would run Google’s Android OS.

The press release explicitly confirms the same.

“Nokia-branded feature phones remain one of the most popular choices of mobile phone in many markets around the world today, and HMD will continue to market them as part of an integrated portfolio alongside a new range of smartphones and tablets. HMD’s new smartphone and tablet portfolio will be based on Android, uniting one of the world’s iconic mobile brands with the leading mobile operating system and app development community.”

Nokia has also issued another statement, addressing the people who love the brand and their phones over the years.

“We are proud to announce that the Nokia brand will be returning to the worldwide mobile phone and tablet market. Every day our fans continue to ask for Nokia smartphones. In fact, in a recent survey, we found that Nokia smartphones are amongst the top five considered brands for purchase by smartphone buyers – and they aren’t even available yet.

“So, under a new agreement, Nokia Technologies has granted HMD, a new company led by some of the world’s top mobile specialists, an exclusive global license to create a full range of Nokia-branded smartphones, tablets, and feature phones for the next decade. The new smartphones and tablets will be based on Android, uniting one of the world’s iconic mobile brands, Nokia, with the leading mobile operating system and app development community.”

The post goes on to thank people for the continuous support.

“A big thanks to you and all of the Nokia supporters around the world. You continue to remind us of the difference our devices have made in your lives. We can’t wait for you to meet the next generation.”

This is not the first time we have heard of Nokia planning to get back into the smartphones market. A few months ago, another report by the Inquisitr talked about Nokia’s plans to head back into the market they once dominated. The plans were confirmed by Nokia’s CEO Rajeev Suri as well. However, back then, there was no timeframe as to when we should expect an announcement. That said, there is still no clarity as to when we would actually see a brand new Android-powered, Nokia-branded smartphone in the markets, but we should expect devices at least by the end of the year.

Nokia ex CEO Stephen Elop
A 2013 photo of Nokia's then CEO Stephen Elop announcing the Nokia Lumia 1020 (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Until 2011, Nokia was the world’s biggest phone maker. However, a series of wrong decisions by the top management led to the downfall of the company, which could not compete with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms. The final straw was Nokia’s decision to adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, a plan that backfired and failed miserably. In the end, the mobile phones division of Nokia was sold to Microsoft for $7.2 billion, after which the Nokia brand name was relegated to a few feature phones that the company was still making.

Do you think Nokia devices, now with Android running on them, would give tough competition to the likes of Samsung, Apple, and Sony? More importantly, with the tremendous brand value the company still has, will it bounce back and once again, become a force to be reckoned with?

[Phto by Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva via AP Images]