Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri has announced that the former world’s largest smartphone maker will return to the smartphone business next year. It won’t be making its own phones, but instead look for suitable partners like it did for the N1 tablet.
When Microsoft bought Nokia in 2014, one of the clauses was that the company won’t make any phones till the end of 2015. With 2016 approaching fast, the company is now quickly looking for partners to mark its return.
The handsets won’t be from Nokia in the traditional sense. While it can assist in designing those phones and allow others to license its name, it won’t be able to use its traditional Lumia, Asha or X series names as those are owned by Microsoft now as part of the $7.2 billion deal, nor would it manufacture those products itself.
Nokia won’t manufacture the phones and also won’t be able to use the Lumia, Asha and X branding
“We will look for suitable partners,” said the CEO in an interview with Reuters. “Microsoft makes mobile phones. We would simply design them and then make the brand name available to license.” Recently, it used the Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn to build the N1 device. Foxconn is popular for its partnership with Apple.
Now that the Microsoft deal is done, this new Nokia is free to use any OS, including Android for its new phones. Just what kind of devices will we see and will they be as readily available as the Lumia and Asha phones remains to be seen. Remember that the N1 Android-running tablet was released on a very limited scale.
Meanwhile, Nokia continues to flourish with its acclaimed HERE mapping and other infrastructure services, both of which are in high-demand from all sides.