Nokia has dusted itself off and is now ready to launch a new phone.
It’s official. Nokia will make a return to the smartphone market in 2017. Knowing that feels weirdly nice, doesn’t it? I have zero idea why because Nokia’s contribution to the smartphone market was a comedy of errors. Maybe 2017’s new Nokia will see the brand return to form… here’s hoping.
How do we know that there’s a new Nokia on the way?
Well, Nokia said so itself. The statement: “Nokia brand’s [sic] return to smartphones” was part of a slide from its own Capital Markets Day 2016 (an event held on 15 November for its investors). The following slide went on to outline how the company will operate in 2017.
…and this is where things start to get a little murky.
Nokia, the phone manufacturer that we all know it as, technically doesn’t exist anymore. That part of the business was sold to Microsoft back in 2013* (cont below). Part of the contract stipulated that Nokia couldn’t release a smartphone for up to 30 months after the deal. We’re now in month 32. The problem Nokia faces is that Microsoft now has all of its employees and phone manufacturing know how.
Which is why Nokia is licensing its brand to its Finnish countrymen, HMD Global, which has a 10-exclusive agreement for Nokia phones. There’s also a “€500m minimum marketing investment by HMD (3 years).”
That’s not all. HMD Global won’t make the smartphones either. It’s employing Taiwanese giant Foxconn for R&D and manufacturing. Mother, the largest advertising firm in the UK, has also been hired by HMD Global to (presumably) market the new new phones.
What will the new Nokia be like?
Good question. Reports from KnowYourMobile suggest that Nokia will launch two new Android smartphones in 2017. Early rumours point towards a phone codenamed D1C. Early leaks show the D1C phone running Android 7 Nougat with a 1080p display; a Snapdragon 430 processor; and 3GB RAM. Which, to be honest, isn’t really that inspiring. Sigh.
** (cont.) Microsoft acquired Nokia’s smartphone business in a deal worth €3.79bn, with a €1.65bn kicker to license Nokia patents for 10 years. In total the initial deal was worth over €5.4bn. However, The Verge recently reported that the venture – which is widely regarded by everyone as a massive failure – has cost Microsoft over $8bn (€7.6bn).