Nokia reportedly plans a return to smartphones in 2016

As reported by Recode:

"As early as next year, the company aims to rejoin the phone market, two sources briefed on Nokia's plans told Re/code. In addition, the company has a number of other ambitious technology projects, including some in the virtual reality arena, these sources said."

The Finnish company sold off its devices and services division to Microsoft back in 2014, which left Nokia to focus on mapping, networking and managing patents. Microsoft currently has a clause in place to continue using the Nokia branding until next year, and when this expires Nokia would be in a position to start executing smartphone plans.

Unfortunately, there are no details on what the company has in the works, or more importantly what software the new hardware will support. The company will need to double efforts on new products, and not simply rely on third-parties like Foxconn to produce unremarkable hardware like the N1, though it's expected Nokia will continue to work with license deals instead of manufacturing devices in-house.

"The [Nokia Technologies] division has released just two products–an Android program called Zlauncher and the N1, an Android tablet design it licensed to another manufacturer that is selling it under the Nokia name in China. Its return to the market is likely to employ a similar tactic."

Recode also notes that Nokia is experimenting with virtual reality, though again details are sparse. The company is certainly looking at new ways to get back into the swing of things if the recent $16.6 billion Alcatel-Lucent acquisition is anything to go by.

Source: Recode

52 Comments
  • Man o man. Should had know that Alcatel, Z Launcher, and their tablet was signs they could come back. They go full Android, I'm dumping my Note 4. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's not like I haven't been saying this for ages now, is it? ;P
  • :-) Posted via the Android Central App
  • I believed you. Oh man 2016 is when I'm planning to upgrade my G3. I'm truyingto get too hype over this news but omg omg omg Nokia and Android Posted via T-Mobile LG G3 running Cloudy 2.2
  • Welcome news! :) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Their is nothing left of the former Nokia glory, this just seems like beating a dead horse.
    Whatever they come out with will most likely fail. If it comes with Android, they may have a slight sliver of hope but they would have to pull a 180 and best every other manufacturer with their first phone otherwise people are going to dismiss them again.
  • Well, thanks for you opinion Mr Eor, It has been noted and filed.
  • Yes. How dare he comment his opinion on a comments section Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's Eyore...
  • I think you HIGHLY underestimate the Nokia fan club. Most of the smartphone business started there, and old school users, aka the ones with the money, really love and trust them. It was only a lack of devices that ran off users. Now that Android is the drug of choice, and with the abillty to focus more on the high end, they can really make waves.
    Now to call the N1 unremarkable hardware? I don't know. I think it is the best tablet on the market. JMHO...
  • I also expect them to even dabble in Windows 10. I'd prefer a Windows 10 handset from Nokia. Not really in love with Android. But to show you what I mean, WHATEVER they come out with, I will buy. I'm not alone.
  • You most certainly are not.
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm sorry I think Nokia is mostly hype and nostalgia. The only thing they really did recently that was good was the cameras on windows smartphones. everything else is lackluster. Especially their first android devices they dabbled with, I know they were released under Microsoft ownership, but they were developed while Nokia owned the business What they did 5 to 10 years ago has little bearing now, they are far behind now.
    If they were so good at making smartphones they wouldn't have had to exit the market in the first place.
    People buying a phone out of nostalgia won't make it good or make it catch on as a brand again.
  • You didn't think that Elop was gonna allow them to release a full fledged Android phone that would had impacted their progress with WP at the time did you? Elop made it cleared he didn't want to have anything to do with Android and probably caved in to shareholders for that horrible excuse for an Android device. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Even so doesn't change my opinion of Nokia re entering the smartphone market.
    I'm not saying it's impossible but it's going to be a very big undertaking to compete with existing OEM's and they already failed in the smartphone marketplace once.
  • The Nokia X phones weren't meant to last. They weren't even meant to be a serious Android phone. They were a part of politics to haste Microsoft into buying the D&S division when Eflop realised that the Board would demand dumping WP for Google's Android in 2014. What you must think about Nokia is: notice what they did for WP. If it wasn't for Nokia, there wouldn't be a WP. All the cool tech WP had under Nokia (from glance screens, to the best cameras in the market etc) were Nokia's doing. IF they had release the exact same phones but running Android, they would have been the nightmare of every other OEM apart from Samsung (who would, still, see their numbers decrease in markets like Europe and India). Your opinion on the Nokia brand is way too much based on your experience as an American. You need to come to Europe or go to India to fully understand the immense power the Nokia brand had with consumers.
  • MS is trying to get all their services integrated into Android right now if you haven't seen over the past two years, especially in the last year they have released a ton of services, because they are losing shares very fast in the mobile world. As much as MS hates Google and Android, they have officially gotten on the Bandwagon
  • I think you HIGHLY underestimate the Nokia fan club. Most of the smartphone business started there, and old school users, aka the ones with the money, really love and trust them. It was only a lack of devices that ran off users. Now that Android is the drug of choice, and with the abillty to focus more on the high end, they can really make waves.
    Now to call the N1 unremarkable hardware? I don't know. I think it is the best tablet on the market. JMHO.. How did that work out for BlackBerry?
  • Well, the N1 is selling really well in China...so... At any rate...you do realise that Nokia kept ALL their patents and mobile technology, right? Meaning, for example, the awesome camera tech on the Nokia L1020 in the photo above, remains with Nokia. They can literally create a Nokia Android 1020.
    They also kept design expertise. And they'll likely contract Foxconn to build the phones. You're not telling me Foxconn doesn't build great hardware, are you? And don't forget that the Nokia brand still holds a lot of power next to quite a few users. The Nokia brand was the one that even made WP a thing (and just look at what happened to WP marketshare since Nokia left...from around 4% and growing to 2.7% and falling). You can be sure I will be buying whatever Nokia releases next on Android. And I'll replace the Nokia WP devices my family has with Nokia's new Android devices (I was the one that pushed them into WP, I'm responsible for getting them out of it).
  • I even don't know it was sold in China let alone a word of "well". I haven't seen any retail shops in Shenzhen, a city of China are selling the device. All people around me indulge themselves in playing iPad. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The first flash sale sold out with 20,000 units purchased in four minutes. There were a total of 566,438 "buyers' interests" in the first sale. The second sale saw 666,594 buyers' interest over 32,000 units, which were all gone in 7 minutes and 47 seconds. While we do know that both the third and fourth flash sales both sold out, we do not have the figures yet showing the number of "buyers' interests," and the number of tablets ultimately sold for each sale. What we do know is that Xiaomi obviously isn't the only manufacturer that can sell out its products using a flash sale. I think the numbers that are great were the interest buyers... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah because their N1 tablet stays sold out in China... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I hope Nokia joins the Android race wid robust hardware... That wld be nice Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nokia has a knack for being, well, different. All of the other manufacturers make phones that are more or less just a rectangular pice of glass and plastic or metal. From a few feet away you can't tell one from the other. That's not the case with Nokia hardware. You can tell a Nokia from any other brand at a glance from a distance. That colorful polycarbonate is as synonymous with Nokia as the round home button is to an iPhone. If Nokia would enter the Android market with its unique style imo it would be a huge step forward in a market that is otherwise rather stagnate.
  • correction - Nokia has a knack for being, terribly awesome, exceptionally good and wonderfully innovative
  • Obviously, you don't know what the word "correction" means.
  • Why? They just spent $16 billion to purchased Alcatel-Lucent networks. That tells me they are looking elsewhere, not smartphone. Besides, unless Nokia can pull a 2007 iphone and change the current environment where everyone is working off the iphone template, they can forget about it. They won't be able to compete with the big boys (Apple, Samsung) and they won't be able to compete on price with the Chinese oem's. If you can't compete on either end of the smartphone category you may as well stay home. HTC have been releasing some nice design phones for a while now are holding on for dear life. I am calling bs on that one, unless of course they plan on doing what they did with the N1 (iPad clone).
  • 1 - The Alcatel Lucent deal is paid with shares, not actually 16 billion euros in cash. 2 - Why wouldn't Nokia invest in one of its companies to make it more competitive? 3 - Since when does a deal made by one Nokia company must affect another Nokia company? Has ever a Samsung deal around their washing machines affected their mobile division, for example? 4 - The power Apple and Samsung have in the markets where Nokia is strong - Europe and India - isn't the same power they have in the US. In Europe, Apple isn't the giant it is in the US (well, and in Finland, for example, the carrier that was selling Jolla phones actually even sold more Jolla phones than iPhones...) starting with the fact that an iPhone in Europe is damn expensive (specially for the crap specs it has). Samsung is a strong player, no doubt. But in Europe, for example, Sony - almost absent in the US - is the third biggest smartphone maker. Nokia is the 4th (Microsoft doesn't inherit the Nokia position. Once you separate Nokia branded Lumias from Microsoft branded Lumias, the numbers will go further down as Nokia is not around and Microsoft can't replace them). 5 - Nokia's business model is the one of the N1. They design the hardware, the software and they control the quality. Foxconn manufactures it and distributes. Much like all other smartphones makers that have Foxconn build their phones (Apple, Motorola etc).
    But they won't be copying the competition, that you can be sure of. The N1 is as much an iPad clone as any other tablet of the same size is, including the HTC Nexus tablet. The N1 is also not meant to be ground breaking, it's just meant to send a message: Nokia is not dead.
  • +100 for Nokia is not dead
  • I agree. Posted via the Android Central App
  • None of those things you mentioned will help their sales numbers. We've seen this movie before, and they sold that business to microsoft before they lost everything. None of the things that made them unsuccessful in the past have been addressed from what I've been reading. Again comparing Apple market share as a lack of success in Europe. Apple is winning the category they want and cared about (high end). They have no intention to be in the mid to low end of the market (Chinese oem's). And if Nokia wants to have a crack at dethroning the big boys then they better do what the iphone did in 2007 (don't use the iphone template).
  • What you didn't seem to understand is that Apple is only one of "the big boys" in the USA.
    Yes, they sell a ton of phones in a row. That's a fact. But they sell in the USA the most. And the day Americans start to pay for the phones their real price like we do in Europe (ie, the iPhone costing over 1000 dollars instead of 400), Apple will likely start losing numbers there too. As for the first part of your comment, it made no sense.
    Nokia Networks turned to profit since Suri took over and continued once Suri went to CEO. It's one of the largest networks provider in the World and with the merge with Alcatel will become the second largest only surpassed by Ericsson.
    Nokia HERE has been expanding and growing with meaningful acquisitions being made.
    Nokia Technologies - the younger of the Nokia divisions - is also turning profits with growth perspectives. The division they sold to Microsoft was the only one dragging them down because they were keeping alive a business model that was no longer sustainable.
    All the things that made them unsuccessful in the past have been addressed and will likely be addresses in their return to phones.
  • Really, Nokia HERE is up for sale http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/04/15/nokia-looks-to-sell-its-here-mapp.... As far as I can see, Nokia are just looking to put their Name on some generic (Apple clone) products and have Foxconn to produce it for them like they are doing with the N1. That's the strategy here since they are looking to offload all the things that could be beneficial for them in the smartphone. As far as the iphone numbers, a lot of folks have been wrong about the iphone prices since 2011. Some people thought (like you now) if they did not release a cheap iphone they would be in trouble, I have been hearing that argument since 2011, now in 2015 they are selling even more http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/iphone/11369221/Apple-has-so.... Leave it to those internet Ceo's who knows better than Tim Cook on how to run the biggest company in the world. Two years ago the whole world told Tim Cook, no one would buy an expensive iphone in China, but look at it now.
  • Watch out! He's breaking out the blog links. He means business!
  • too soon.... too soon....
  • Make a smartphone that has the pedigree of the indestructible Nokia 3310. In other words, make a smartphone that's near-impossible to destroy.
  • enter "the dragon" all praise the king "Nokia" sure to wipe out lagdroids, hope the OS will be a flavour of symbian but more secure
  • That's right! ... ( 0ppo F5) ...
  • Now that good old qwerty smart phones are all but extinct, I'd like to see Nokia come out with a modern Nokia E7-00 but with stock Android and a 4.5" screen, quality camera, 2 day battery, turbo high speed charging like Droid Turbo, etc. Top of the line innards like the old qwerty Droids and current flagships. There have to be a decent number of peeps who still like qwerty that are no longer being served. Posted via the Android Central App
  • All they need to do is release a competitive priced phone with the features people have been asking for. Not a phone with a sad excuse for a camera, lack of storage or a cheap Chinese CPU that isnt tested in a market outside of China. Keep it updated with the latest release of a clean near stock Android and they would have a win. Its that simple.
  • They should have gone the android route a long time ago instead of putting all of their eggs in the falling Windows phone arena. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If they can bring a premium phone with stock Android experience and some useful features a la Motorola and with an amazing camera then I'm all for it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I can't wait to see what Nokia releases, I hope they reveal at MWC next year.
  • Too little, too late; the only thing left to do is figure out where to stick the fork in them.
  • So it will be a licensed Nokia brand on a 3rd party device. I'd wait before getting too excited. I personally don't see this happening. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Oh yes! I would dump any phone that I have for a Nokia branded Android phone. Posted via the Android Central App on my awesome Note 3
  • All they need to make is a slimmer android Lumia 1020 and they can have my money. Best smartphone camera I ever used. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If Nokia produce a full Android smartphone, I'm in..
  • I think it was quite obvious once the N1 was announced that Nokia was planning a smartphone comeback with Android. The N1 and Z Launcher were not developed for fun, they are clearly testbeds that exploit a loophole in the agreement with Microsoft preventing them from launching actual smartphones until end 2016. Nokia is not going to simply re-enter the mobile market in 2017 with a pure Google device with their name slapped on it, it's just not their style, their presence has to mean something and the Z Launcher is the key differentiator. The theory as I see it is that Nokia will have two years of public feedback on this piece of software before it even actually puts it on a phone of its own, plus two years of evaluating the effectiveness of their Foxconn partnership, allowing it to have developed a highly polished product with a proven, low-risk manufacturing and distribution model.
  • News only for those who who didn't already know for ages now.
    And it's not too soon. 2014 & 2015 are transition years, boring phones, nothing interesting or innovative is going on right now. 2016 is great timing for a market assault.
  • I thought Nokia was acquired by Moto?? Posted via the Android Central App