When Microsoft bought Nokia’s mobile division in 2013, it made a deal that the Finnish manufacturer couldn’t make any smartphones until after December 31, 2015. Now with that date approaching, Nokia is ready to get back in the game.
Citing two sources who’ve been briefed on Nokia’s smartphone plans, Re/code reports that Nokia will be returning to the smartphone market, and has other ambitious plans for virtual reality as well.
Although Nokia can’t make physical handsets until the end of this year, the company has done everything in mobile except make a smartphone. Last summer, Nokia made a pretty awesome Android Z Launcher, and it showed off its iPad-inspired tablet at Mobile World Congress this past March. Just last week, Nokia made a big move and purchased French phone maker Alcatel-Lucent for $US16.6 billion. So yeah, even though Nokia may be down, it’s definitely not out of this smartphone fight.
However, it’s probably best to temper that enthusiasm for Nokia of old. As Re/code mentions, the company won’t be building some huge manufacturing operation in step with Apple or Samsung. Instead, Nokia will likely continue selling its brand and designs for other companies to build and distribute, much like Nokia did with Foxconn and the new N1 Android tablet.
Will we see any Nokia-branded anything in the US? Who knows; so far the N1 tablet has no plans to come to the States, and Nokia’s smartphones may follow suit. But it’s strangely comforting knowing the company whose hardware I played hours and hours and hours of Snake on as a kid isn’t completely dead just yet.