Two years after Microsoft acquired Nokia and Nokia left the mobile business, Nokia is returning to the industry it once ruled.
Nokia announced today that its name will once again appear on new smartphones, tablets, and feature phones. To be specific, Nokia has entered into an agreement with new Finnish company HMD global Oy that will see HMD license the Nokia name to be used on smartphones and tablets for the next 10 years. In exchange, Nokia will receive royalty payments.
These Nokia smartphones and tablets will run Android, but that’s about all that we know about them so far. One other detail that we do know is that HMD plans to invest around $500 million over the next three years to market these Nokia smartphones and tablets, so the devices will get a nice marketing boost.
Nokia’s name will also appear on feature phone devices, as Microsoft has agreed to sell the rights to use the Nokia name on feature phones to HMD. This means that HMD will be responsible for all Nokia mobile devices. The Microsoft-HMD deal is expected to close in the second half of 2016.
HMD will be headed up by folks that know Nokia and Microsoft. CEO Arto Nummela held senior positions at Nokia and currently leads Microsoft’s mobile business for Greater Asia, Middle East, and Africa, as well as Microsoft’s feature phone business. Meanwhile, HMD president Florian Seiche is currently SVP of Microsoft’s mobile Europe Sales and Marketing and previously worked at companies like Nokia and HTC.
There are still a lot of details up in the air about these upcoming Nokia-branded Android phones and tablets, including what they’ll look like and what features they’ll have. Nokia does promise that they’ll include the “quality, design, and innovation” that Nokia phones have been known for, though. Nokia’s Windows Phone devices garnered a lot of praise for their design, and so if Nokia and HMD can continue to design quality hardware and combine it with good Android software, these new Nokia phones and tablets could be big.
Are you excited to see Nokia returning to mobile with Android devices?