Wow!! Nokia Announces Smartphone Plan For 2016



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With a nod towards Facebook’s awkward relationship status, Nokia spokesman Robert Morlino has laid out the path Nokia will take if it is to return to the smartphone market. This is not an announcement of a new handset, but an announcement that if a new Nokia smartphone is to be released, this is the business model that will be used.

Nokia's Android powered tablet, the Nokia N1 (image: Nokia.com)
Nokia’s Android powered tablet, the Nokia N1 (image: Nokia.com)
Immediately after the purchase of Nokia’s Devices and Services section by Microsoft, speculation started on how long it would take for a new handset to be released by the Finnish company, and it has not abated. That process would take time, there were numerous clauses in the contract of sales, and of course the ever-changing trends in the smartphone market would need to be considered.

Nevertheless, Nokia has not been drawn on a new smartphone until Morlino’s statement was posted online. First of all it addresses the speculation, and then lays out what could happen if that speculation was to become gospel:
For 14 years Nokia was the biggest cell phone maker in the world, and the brand became a household name — one that evoked quality, innovation and human connection. The brand is still recognized that way by millions of people around the world, which is incredibly gratifying and a huge compliment for the people who helped create it. So it’s not surprising that today, the question comes up all the time: will Nokia return to mobile devices?
The answer is: it’s complicated.
The route to market is as predicted previously on Forbes. Nokia will find a brand partner that can take care of the day-to-day operations of bringing a smartphone to the market. Nokia would be involved with the design of the hardware and software, licensing the brand name and the IP to the chosen partner.
The right path back to mobile phones for Nokia is through a brand-licensing model. That means identifying a partner that can be responsible for all of the manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer support for a product.
If and when we find a world-class partner who can take on those responsibilities, we would work closely with them to guide the design and technology differentiation, as we did with the Nokia N1 Android tablet. That’s the only way the bar would be met for a mobile device we’d be proud to have bear the Nokia brand, and that people will love to buy.
As noted, the Nokia N1 tablet already follows this model, using Foxconn as a partner. The tablet is available in an online retail model that follows the style of Xiaomi and OnePlus, with online invitations and limited production runs to boost desirability and leveraging social media to do much of the marketing.
As for the timescale, the contracts and exclusivity periods with Microsoft mapped out a potential date at the point of the division sale, but it’s nice to hear it confirmed by Nokia.
As we agreed with Microsoft, the soonest that could happen is Q4 2016 — so it’s safe to say Nokia won’t be back (at least in phone form…) before then.

Nokia's Android powered tablet, the Nokia N1 (image: Nokia.com)


Nokia’s Android powered tablet, the Nokia N1 (image: Nokia.com)
Strictly speaking, nothing in the statement says that Nokia will release a smartphone at the end of 2016, during 2017, or at any point in the future. Sometimes not responding to speculation is the best approach, but Nokia has decided to address the discussion that is going on in numerous publications and forums.
Nokia will be watching the reaction from the public, the analysts, and the financial markets, very carefully.  It has also told all of the prospective partners in this mythical mission what exactly the Finnish company will be looking for.
I’m sure that it is coincidence that a statement looking for potential partners was released the day before the GSMA’s ‘Mobile World Congress Shanghai‘ event.
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