It appears Nokia smartphones are set to make a comeback in 2017, as newly formed HMD Global is set to launch a range of devices featuring the brand name many considered dead.
HMD, founded to provide a home for a new generation of Nokia-branded phones and tablets, signed a strategic partnership with Nokia Technologies in May, granting sole use of the brand and patent licensing over the next 10 years.
In a statement released on Thursday, HMD confirmed that the new range of devices will be powered by Google’s Android operating system, which makes up 86% of the smartphone market.
The Finnish tech firm has also partnered with consumer electronics company FIH Mobile (FIH), which will manufacture the Nokia-branded devices and provide future research and development opportunities.
“Today marks a happy and important day for HMD,” said Arto Nummela, CEO of HMD Global. “Nokia has been one of the most iconic and recognisable phone brands globally for decades. The excitement of re-introducing this much loved, well known and trusted brand to smartphone consumers is a responsibility and an ambition that everyone at HMD shares.”
“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,” added Nummela.
Microsoft first bought Nokia’s mobile phone business in 2014 for $US7.17 billion, however the tech giant was forced to sell the iconic brand this year amid declining sales of feature phones, almost wiping out the entire value of the deal.
In May HMD global announced a conditional deal with Microsoft to acquire the rights to use the Nokia trademark on devices until 2024. The agreement gives HMD sole control over the sales, marketing and distribution of new Nokia-branded phones and tablets. HMD has previously stated it would be spending $US500 million of investor funding over the next three years to market the new device range across the globe.
“We believe that the time is right for renewal in the mobile industry,” said Florian Seiche, president of HMD Global. “The market is fatigued and flooded with undifferentiated products. Consumers are looking for technology with clear purpose that is useful, exciting and with a brand they can trust. So our approach will focus on true, core user experiences and a dedication to quality.”
HMD is expected to announce the first of a new line of Nokia-branded smartphones, rumoured to be the Nokia D1C, at the Mobile World Congress in February 2017.