Nokia, or more accurately, a remnant of the once dominant Finnish phone maker, may be looking to get back to producing smartphones. According to Re/code, Nokia Technologies is reportedly busy on an unpublicized project that will result in the company introducing a new mobile device, specifically a smartphone, as early as next year.
But wait -- as reported by Re/code, Nokia is planning to announce the smartphone and then license its design and brand name to another company, which will take care of mass producing and distributing the device to various markets around the world.
Nearly a year has passed since Microsoft officially purchased the smartphone business of Nokia for a sum of $7.2 billion. As a result of this acquisition, Microsoft would own the rights to utilize the Nokia brand name for a certain period of time, and to continue manufacturing Nokia smartphones until this year. Three divisions of Nokia's smartphone business were not included in the acquisition -- Nokia Technologies is one of them.
Then late last year, Microsoft confirmed that it was not going to use the Nokia brand name anymore, but instead use the Microsoft Lumia branding for its smartphone line of products (it should be noted that the Lumia brand name came from Nokia). Right about the same time, Nokia also introduced a new tablet called the N1, which has its own branding separate from Microsoft's Lumia line.
Because Microsoft still has the rights to the Nokia brand name until the end of this year, Nokia Technologies can not use the name for now. It can, however, start working on its new smartphone offering, and by the time the year 2016 arrives, the Finland-based tech company should then be able to release a device under the Nokia brand name.
Going back to an industry it has once abandoned will not be easy for Nokia. Even more so when you consider that the field has even become more competitive. Apple and Samsung are considered the leaders, but other phone makers like LG, HTC, and Motorola continue to vie for consumers' attention, even as as Chinese phone makers like Xiaomi and Huawei threaten to eat away at everybody else's market share by introducing cheap but feature-heavy smartphones to emerging and established markets.
If Nokia is to successfully rejoin the smartphone market, it will need to come up with something that will attract buyers. For now, there is no word yet on what its upcoming smartphone will bring to the table. But in order for Nokia to rise up again, its product must deliver.
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