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Nokia Brand Return to Smartphones Confirmed

by Ville-Petteri Ukonaho | Nov 21, 2016

During Nokia Capital Markets Day 2016 November 15 was confirmed the long lasting rumor that Nokia brand is making a comeback to smartphones in 2017. The company states that 2017 will represent "Nokia brand's return to smartphones."

Since selling the phone business to Microsoft Nokia brand has nearly vanished from the smartphone landscape. Microsofts effort to make Lumia Windows Phone devices failed miserably and featurephones have been the only ones keeping the brand alive in the mobile phone industry.

In May 2016 Nokia and Microsoft announced that they have both sold or licensed the Nokia brand to a new Finnish vendor - HMD. Led by former Nokia execs, HDM will "develop, market and sell Nokia-branded phones and accessories".

The other players in the game are Nokia whose responsibility is to "Brand, Patents, Oversight" and Foxconn/FIH that handles all "R&D and manufacturing".

Re-entering smartphones with Android, rather than Windows 10 Mobile, is an obvious and largely-unavoidable choice for HMD/Nokia, due to the recent poor performance of Microsoft’s mobile operating system (<1% global share).

However, despite a well-known hardware brand, HMD/Nokia it will NOT be a walk in the park in the Android smartphone category. Industry growth has slowed, there are hundreds of microvendors squabbling for the same device pie, marketing spend among the noise will be expensive, and online / retailer / operator distribution channels are fragmenting heavily. HMD/Nokia will need to innovate a new wow product, like a rollable smartphone, if it seriously plans to get above even 1% global marketshare in the next three years.
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