The Nokia is Back!
Nokia’s alive! After Microsoft bought the handset business from the Finnish firm in 2014 the legendary Nokia name disappeared from our phones, but it’s coming back.
A new company, HMD, has been specifically founded as a subsidiary of Foxconn to put the Nokia name back onto phones and tablets.
HMD has signed a licensing agreement with the Nokia Corporation – the company does still exist – for the exclusive use of the Nokia brand on mobiles and tablets for the next 10 years.
For those fearing a fresh onslaught of Windows devices, there’s good news as HMD has confirmed its Nokia-branded smartphones and tablets will run on Android. It remains to be seen whether there will be an interface overlay, like we saw on the almost Windows-esque Nokia X or the Z-launcher toting Nokia N1.
It’s not just smartphones though. HMD has agreed with Microsoft “to use the ‘Nokia’ trademark on feature phones until 2024, and design rights relating to Microsoft’s Feature Phone Business.” In fact, Microsoft is selling its entire feature phone business to parent company Foxconn for $350 million.
The Nokia brand still carries a lot of weight in developing nations, where low-cost feature and smartphones are big business, so it’s no surprise HMD is keen to focus on this as well as higher end products.
It also means we could some familiar Lumia styling in the new Nokia feature phone range, with Microsoft giving the go-ahead for its design language to be used. It’s currently not clear whether this design language will transcend to the smartphone line-up as well, or if we’ll see a new style direction for the Android-toting handsets.
HMD is in good hands too, with Arto Nummela stepping in as CEO and Florian Seiche as the company’s president.
They may not be household names, but Nummela has previously held senior positions at Nokia, and is currently the head of Microsoft’s Mobile Devices business EMEA and Microsoft’s global Feature Phones business.
Meanwhile Seiche is currently Senior Vice President for Europe Sales and Marketing at Microsoft Mobile, and has previously held leadership roles at Nokia and HTC.
Whether HMD, Nummela and Seiche can make the new Nokia devices a success remains to be seen, but if they can harness the legendary brand and the fondness people hold for the name when thinking back to Nokia’s of old, they’d be off to a good start.