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Nokia crawls towards comeback with new phones announcement

And it’s … oh, a midrange Android

The “new Nokia” appears going for volume rather than margins as it makes a comeback into phones.

A new venture called HMD Global has licensed the rights to the Nokia brand for use in phones, which will be made by Foxconn.

Three or four new Nokia-branded devices will be launched, Nokia’s China chief suggested in August [Chinese translation], with the first to be announced before Christmas.

Benchmarks for one device, named in the benchmarks as the “D1C” have been spotted, indicating a solid midrange device, with 3GB of RAM, and Android Nougat 7. The CPU is identified as an Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octocore running at 1.4Ghz.

In 2013, Microsoft bought the exclusive right to use the Nokia brand for phones, for a limited period. That exclusivity period expires at the end of this year. 17-year veteran Pekka Rantala has been tapped to lead the marketing for the range.

Nokia sold more phones than anyone each year from 1998 until 2011. It ceded its top spot in Europe to Samsung in early 2011 and globally in Q1 2012. The brand continues to be fondly remembered, particularly in India.

That’s what's really behind what seems like an irrational decision to re-enter one of the most competitive and saturated markets in the world. Advances in component packaging have levelled the playing field, attracting low or no-margin newcomers, such as OnePlus and WileyFox. It's savaged the margins across the board, with LG, Sony and HTC bleeding red ink. Yet if the “new Nokia” can convince customers the branded phones have the durability and support of “true” Nokias, while keeping the costs down, it may just be in with a chance.

Nokia isn’t expected to add many bells and whistles – but does have its own Android launcher. ®


BlackBerry has followed Nokia down the brand licensing route, and the company elaborated on the decision for us last week.

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