Nokia is (sort of) back! New phones and tablets are incoming

18 May 2016

Former Nokia users, nostalgic for the days of the Nokia 3210, will soon be able to buy devices from the Finnish company again, after it confirmed it has agreed a deal to make a new range of phone and tablets.

The deal, which will see Nokia phones re-enter the marketplace, comes a number of years after Microsoft tried – and failed – to use the iconic telecommunications company to take on iOS and Android phones.

Microsoft began trying to kill off the brand name on devices in 2014, but its supposed funeral was held less than a year ago after the tech giant announced it was to shed thousands of jobs in its smartphone division, including Nokia.

Running on Android

An action that even prompted Finland’s Prime Minister, Juha Sipila, to say that this decision meant “the end of the mobile-phone operations of the old Nokia in Finland”.

Now, however, like a phoenix from the flames, the Nokia name will return to devices after it agreed a deal with a Finnish start-up called HMD, which will create Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets for the next 10 years.

HMD, however, has no plans to try and launch its own operating system in what is already a pretty solidified market, and has said the new phones will be based on Android.

With this decision, Microsoft will wash its hands of its three-year association with Nokia, with HMD acquiring the rights to use the Nokia name on devices.

Nokia in all but name only

In a statement released by Nokia about its return to the handset market, the company revealed that HMD will lead a global marketing campaign worth $500m over the next three years to get the Nokia name back in people’s minds.

As for Nokia’s role in all of this, it seems that it will be taking a back seat and letting HMD do most of the work, but the company will maintain royalty rights on devices sold and will have a representative on HMD’s board.

This news seems to be part of a Nokia fire sale being held by Microsoft, which also confirmed that it has sold Nokia’s feature phone – or ‘dumb phone’ as it is called these days – to China, more specifically, Foxconn, for around $350m.

A 3210 reboot?

Speaking of Nokia’s decision to farm out much of the actual production of its phones to HMD, Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, said: “Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Nokia brand in an industry where Nokia remains a truly iconic name.

“Working with HMD and FIH will let us participate in one of the largest consumer electronics markets in the world while staying true to our licensing business model.”

It’s now just a matter of time before we hear of whether we’ll soon have a Nokia 3210 for a new generation.

Old Nokia phones image via HitManSnr/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic