Talk of Nokia smartphones running on Android has been around for a while, but this time, it’s for real.
A new crop of Nokias, powered by the Android OS, will be released next year. This comes after Nokia and HMD Global, which bought the phone hardware arm from Microsoft, finalized an agreement in May 2016. Nokia, which still owns the brand, has also given HMD Global a 10-year license to use the brand and will thus get royalties for each Nokia phone sold.
HMD Global, also a Finnish company like Nokia, has since named itself as “the new home of Nokia phones.” The company also is slated to offer tablets alongside smartphones, although no definite release date has been announced. It has been speculated that the company may be sharing more information at the upcoming Mobile World Congress, which will happen in February 2017.
However, HMD Global has already said, through a press release, that Nokia Android handsets will arrive in the first half of 2017. Rumors have it that about 4 smartphones may be arriving during the said timeframe. Unofficial reports said that the first Nokia handsets for next year “will be a 5- and a 5.5-inch Android with midrange specs.”
The new phones on the Nokia site will also continue to be sold alongside the new units next year.
It can be recalled that Nokia’s mobile phone business was bought out by Microsoft in 2013. Microsoft then released new phones in 2014 but named them Microsoft Lumia, ditching the Nokia brand. However, the Microsoft phones did not perform as well as they were hoped to be, leading Microsoft to sell the business to HMD Global.
The entry of Nokia into the already fiercely competitive Android market is viewed with doubt by some pundits, but is said to have gained an enthusiastic welcome by consumers, according to Nokia.
“Consumers may be carrying different smartphones now, but are they really in love and loyal to those brands?” HMD Global chief Arto Nummela asked in an interview.
Meanwhile, mobile phone analyst Ben Wood noted that current players in the Android market should not underestimate Nokia’s entry as it has the brand and “management experience.”
Further, there are high expectations for the brand considering its worldwide recognizability (about 95%) as it led the mobile phone game for more than 10 years. Fans of the brand also will be interested to know how the Nokia phones will be revamped after the “disappointing” treatment by Microsoft.