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Nokia plans Lazarus act with new Android smartphone in 2017

12 December 2016 by Michelle Lewis 0 Comments

The Nokia brand is promising to rise from the dead with the launch of a new Android smartphone in early 2017.

Nokia 150years.jpg 

When Nokia celebrated its 150th anniversary in May 2015, it was no longer in the mobile phone business. The Nokia name had been sold off to Microsoft who used it for a time on their Lumia handset but eventually dropped it altogether.

The sell-out to Microsoft had capped an astonishing fall from the heights of global mobile phone dominance.  

Nokia was the leading mobile phone manufacturer in the world from 1998 to 2012. In  fact in 2007 Nokia was acknowleged as the world's fifth most valuable brand, but that very same year saw the launch of the iPhone, and a failure to keep pace with the rise of the smartphone led to the demise of the brand.

NOKIA is back

Now the Nokia brand is back.

Nokia has confirmed a new Nokia Android smartphone will be launched in 2017. The smart money is on an unveiling at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

Nokia has been looking for some time for a partner to develop a new Nokia smartphone but had to wait until the last quarter of 2016 before it could retreive its Nokia brand licensing from Microsoft.

That new partner is HMD Global, a company which is stacked with former Nokia employees.

HMD has a licensing deal with Nokia giving it sole use of the brand on mobile phones and tablets for the next decade. It will pay Nokia royalties for the brand and patents, but Nokia has no direct investment in HMD.

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Partnered with Google, Made in Taiwan

HMD is building its smartphone operating system in partnership with Google, and all its Nokia devices will be manufactured by Foxconn of Taiwan, the world's largest contract manufacturer.

Nummela says his team's enduring relationships with phone service providers and retailers could help HMD quickly convince owners of Nokia current feature phones to upgrade. The Nokia name is still on a tenth of the feature phones sold around the world and has a noteworthy presence in markets like India, Indonesia and Russia.

Arto Nummela, who once headed Nokia's sales and product development sections is the public face as HMD CEO. 

 

"Consumers may be carrying different smartphones now, but are they really in love and loyal to those brands?" Nummela said.

Nokia nostalgia lives on

There is no doubt that the Nokia name still evokes happy memories for many of the world's smartphone owners.

For over ten years Nokia was the world leader and who didn't have a trusty, almost impossible to damage, Nokia. It is these brand strengths that the new owners will be looking to tap into.

"For a new entrant, having an established brand provides it with an instant on-ramp," mobile phone analyst Ben Wood of CCS Insight said.

It's the new Nokia, with some familiar faces  

Nummela heads up a cast at HMD that is passionate about the Nokia brand. 

He is flanked by HMD president, Florian Seiche, who previously worked at Siemens, Orange, HTC and Nokia.

Chief marketing pfficer Pekka Rantala is a former CEO of Rovio, the maker of the Angry Birds game, as well as a Nokia veteran.

Meanwhile HMD is owned by Smart Connect LP, a private equity fund run by Jean-Francois Baril, who was once in charge of Nokia's world-leading supply chain management system. 

"The barriers to entry for the Android phone space are low," says Ben Wood. What HMD has is the Nokia brand and management experience. The key to its success will be driving scale." 

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