Nokia was one of the biggest players in the cellphone space for a long time, but the company struggled to compete when smartphones started to take over the market. The company eventually stopped developing its own operating system and switch to Windows before selling its phone division to Microsoft in 2014. Nokia’s legacy sort of lives on in the Microsoft Lumia line of phones.
But soon you may be able to buy a Nokia-branded phone again. It just won’t actually be built by Nokia.
The company has made a 10-year licensing deal licensing with HMD Global, a new Finland-based company that will build and sell phones with the Nokia brand name.
The new phones are expected to run Android-based software, and the plan it to offer those smartphones in North and South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
We first learned about the partnership earlier this year, but things are getting a lot more official looking at Nokia launches a new Phones section on its website (albeit with a note that the site is operated by HMD Global), and HMD officials officially kick off their new initiative, saying that the company’s first Android handsets are likely to ship in early 2017.
HMD says its new products “will focus on innovation, quality, and experience, alongside the iconic Nokia mobile phone attributes of design, robustness, and reliability.” But there’s no word on what the new phones will look like, what kind of features they’ll have, or how much they’ll cost.
Overall, it’s unclear whether the Nokia name alone carries enough weight in 2017 to give HMD’s phones any leg up on the competition… or if the phones will have to stand on their own merits in a crowded marketplace.