Once coveted for their immaculate design and build quality, the Nokia brand has plummeted in value due to the rise in smartphones.
Struggling to compete with Apple’s iPhone, Nokia was forced to decide which mobile operating system, between Android or Windows Mobile, the company would stake its life on. In a deal with Microsoft in 2011, they chose Windows Mobile 7 as their platform of choice. Unfortunately for Nokia, Windows Mobile failed to make significant ground, resulting in the ultimate demise of the company’s mobile division. Nokia sold its mobile division to Microsoft in 2014, who began selling Windows Mobile smartphones without the Finnish company’s branding.
While it appeared that the Nokia brand would cease to exist, a silver lining appeared amidst Microsoft’s continued failure to make progress with Windows Mobile in the market. Microsoft eventually sold off its mobile phone business to a fledgling HMD Global – a Finnish company which acquired the licensing rights to the Nokia brand. HMD Global is devoted to restoring the glory of the Nokia brand in the eyes of consumers, and today the company has announced a major step forward in their plans to bring back the iconic Nokia build. Through a 10 year licensing agreement with Nokia, HMD global will begin selling Nokia-branded feature phones to be eventually followed by full-fledged Android smartphones in the first-half of 2017.
“Driven by the extremely positive reception we have received since HMD was announced earlier this year, we are excited about building the next chapter for Nokia phones. We see this as a brilliant opportunity to solve real life consumer problems and to deliver on the quality and designs that the Nokia brand has been always known for. Our talented and passionate team is uniquely placed in this modern setup to deliver our promise of reliable, beautifully crafted and fun Nokia phones for consumers across the globe.”
-Arto Nummela, CEO of HMD Global
Like most other OEMs, HMD Global will not be manufacturing the smartphones themselves, rather leaving that in the hands of Foxconn. Instead, HMD Global will focus on the design and marketing of the new Nokia-branded smartphones. The company is employing many former Nokia employees as well as hand-picking some of the best designers in the industry to produce Android smartphones with quality on par with the Nokia feature phones of yesteryear. HMD Global is hoping to ride a wave of Nokia brand nostalgia when they enter the Android smartphone market. How successful HMD Global will be in its initiative can only be seen once we receive further details of their first Android smartphones, but fans of Nokia have much to look forward to.