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We're finally about to get the Nokia Android phone we've always wanted

Nokia is getting back into the world of phones and tablets. The Finnish vendor has licensed its name and IP to HMD, a newly-minted entity tasked with creating a portfolio of devices running Android that carry Nokia's iconic name. HMD and Nokia have also partnered with FIH Mobile Limited, a subsidiary of Foxconn that just acquired Microsoft's feature phone business for $350 million, including manufacturing, sales and distribution.

HMD has also acquired rights to use Nokia's branding on feature phones from Microsoft, allowing it to churn out new feature phones carrying the Nokia logo. With the deal with FIH in place, HMD will retain "full operational control of sales, marketing and distribution of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets" globally. Nokia is providing "branding rights and cellular standard essential patent licenses" to HMD, and will receive royalty payments in return.

As for the company itself, HMD is made up of ex-Nokia executives, which means we'll likely see Android-based phones and tablets with evocative designs. We should be hearing more in the coming weeks and months.

Nokia signs strategic brand and intellectual property licensing agreement enabling HMD global to create new generation of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets

Espoo, Finland - Nokia has announced plans that will see the Nokia brand return to the mobile phone and tablet markets on a global basis. Under a strategic agreement covering branding rights and intellectual property licensing, Nokia Technologies will grant HMD global Oy (HMD), a newly founded company based in Finland, an exclusive global license to create Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets for the next ten years. Under the agreement, Nokia Technologies will receive royalty payments from HMD for sales of Nokia-branded mobile products, covering both brand and intellectual property rights.

HMD has been founded to provide a focused, independent home for a full range of Nokia-branded feature phones, smartphones and tablets. To complete its portfolio of Nokia branding rights, HMD announced today that it has conditionally agreed to acquire from Microsoft the rights to use the Nokia brand on feature phones, and certain related design rights. The Microsoft transaction is expected to close in H2 2016. Together these agreements would make HMD the sole global licensee for all types of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. HMD intends to invest over USD 500 million over the next three years to support the global marketing of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, funded via its investors and profits from the acquired feature phone business.

Nokia-branded feature phones remain one of the most popular choices of mobile phone in many markets around the world today, and HMD will continue to market them as part of an integrated portfolio alongside a new range of smartphones and tablets. HMD's new smartphone and tablet portfolio will be based on Android, uniting one of the world's iconic mobile brands with the leading mobile operating system and app development community.

As also announced today by FIH Mobile Limited (FIH), a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industries (trading as Foxconn Technology Group), the remainder of Microsoft's feature phone business assets, including manufacturing, sales and distribution, would be acquired by FIH. HMD and Nokia Technologies have signed an agreement with FIH to establish a collaboration framework to support the building of a global business for Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. This agreement will give HMD full operational control of sales, marketing and distribution of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, with exclusive access to the pre-eminent global sales and distribution network to be acquired from Microsoft by FIH, access to FIH's world-leading device manufacturing, supply chain and engineering capabilities, and to its growing suite of proprietary mobile technologies and components.

Nokia will provide HMD with branding rights and cellular standard essential patent licenses in return for royalty payments, but will not be making a financial investment or holding equity in HMD. Nokia Technologies will take a seat on the Board of Directors of HMD and set mandatory brand requirements and performance related provisions to ensure that all Nokia-branded products exemplify consumer expectations of Nokia devices, including quality, design and consumer focused innovation.

HMD would be led, once the Microsoft transaction closes, by Arto Nummela as CEO, who previously held senior positions at Nokia and is currently the head of Microsoft's Mobile Devices business for Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa, as well as Microsoft's global Feature Phones business. HMD's president on closing would be Florian Seiche, who is currently Senior Vice President for Europe Sales and Marketing at Microsoft Mobile, and previously held key roles at Nokia, HTC and other global brands.

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. Instead of Nokia returning to manufacturing mobile phones itself, HMD plans to produce mobile phones and tablets that can leverage and grow the value of the Nokia brand in global markets. 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."

Arto Nummela, CEO-designate of HMD, said: "We will be completely focused on creating a unified range of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, which we know will resonate with consumers. Branding has become a critical differentiator in mobile phones, which is why our business model is centered on the unique asset of the Nokia brand and our extensive experience in sales and marketing. We will work with world class providers in manufacturing and distribution to move quickly and deliver what customers want."

Vincent Tong, Chairman of FIH, added: "We are looking forward to fostering a strong and long-term collaboration with HMD global and Nokia. We are impressed by the experience and expertise of the HMD management team and are committed to supporting them with our manufacturing, technology and supply chain capabilities, to capture market opportunities together in the future."

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

98 Comments
  • I welcome another player to the field but I doubt there is going to be much crossover from the Nokia of old.
  • Will depend on what they bring to the table Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, HMD is a Finnish company, created by ex-Nokians, who will access the entire Nokia patent portfolio. It's basically Nokia. They're just a separate company... For the time being ;) Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Nokia Technologies will take a seat on the Board of Directors of HMD and set mandatory brand requirements and performance related provisions to ensure that all Nokia-branded products exemplify consumer expectations of Nokia devices, including quality, design and consumer focused innovation." That part if it holds true is kinda encouraging, as well. Kinda sounds like papa will be around to make sure they don't go too far afield.
  • That's exactly what they'll be doing. Nokia knows that their brand is a valuable asset. Far far more valuable than other brands like Alcatel or Motorola. So they would never squander it like that.
    And if the HMD venture goes well, I'm pretty sure Nokia will end up taking over. This is a careful approach. Smart, in my opinion.
  • It's happening! You were right! (if you remember me)
  • Nokia is back!!!!!!! Oh my god
  • Yeah but it ain't original Posted via the Android Central App
  • Kinda is though... refer to DJCBS comment above.
  • Nokia and Sony Ericsson were the kings of cell phones back in the day.... Let's see what Nokia does with Android. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm actually quite excited about this. Hope it's merited Posted via the Android Central App
  • IT'S HAPPENING Posted via the Android Central App
  • You people should have listened to me sooner ;P Posted via the Android Central App
  • I've been wanting a good Nokia Android phone for years. Now they need to buy Jolla and use their software design team too. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Given Jolla's financial state, I wouldn't be surprised if HMD ended up acquiring them. Depends on the level of funding they're getting from Nokia. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like this. Nokia wont take any equity because that would mean re-negotiating all patent deals with other manufacturers. Looking forward to the upcoming Nokia devices. After all, they kept the R&D from Microsoft deal so we can expect some interesting things Im sure.
  • So my question is: in the wake of the Galaxy S7 and HTC 10, what will Nokia bring to the Android market that we don't already have? And don't say more choice because Android is hardly lacking on that front. It seems that unless Nokia owns some feature patent or patents not currently being utilized in handsets, it will just end up being an also ran. Posted with my LG G4 6.0 via the Android Central App
  • Nokia has the largest mobile patent portfolio on mobile, which they kept developing. Don't worry about what they can bring. You won't be disappointed ;) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, very cool then.
  • They could bring us an indestructible plastic flagship phone. Not everyone loves phones with bodies that can dent and shatter.
  • Again cool.
  • Agree 100%. I don't get this obsession with metal phones. I prefer light and resilient. And it seems most of the flagships (S7 variants excluded) have lost wireless charging due to metal casings, or at least that's what I've been told is the reason. I don't know how Samsung does it. Either way, I think metal is highly overrated. ...Joe K.
  • Maybe because the back of the S7 is glass? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good point. ...Joe K.
  • A flagship with FM Radio
  • They used to be the industry leader in smartphone imaging, so perhaps they'll put out something that puts all the other handsets' cameras to shame. One can dream.
  • We know Nokia has the z-launcher. They have camera patents and new technology. They've bought withings. Looks like an smartphone with dual boot capability with 360 degree camera, and standalone smart watch with health monitoring. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I told you Nokia was returning with Android, Phil. ;P Posted via the Android Central App
  • A stopped clock is right twice a day.
  • Except I've been right more often than not. I'm an awesome clock.
  • Yes! It's finally happening! Been waiting such a long time for this, but never stopped believing and here we go :) Hope they bring something that could stand out and continue the legend of Nokia. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sooo happy!! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm excited, loved my lumia 920 and 1020...if we get an updated form factor with Android...I'm so down! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good luck, the market is over saturated with smartphones, how exactly will they be able to compete with Samsung and Apple, look at HTC, even with a really good device they are nowhere to be found, you need marketing muscle, which is hard to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple. I went in to my local Verizon store yesterday and all they had was Samsung and Apple phones, the HTC 10 was nowhere to be found. Nokia barely had any presence when they where around before Microsoft and the Steve Balmer fiasco, and going the WP route did not help them either,how exactly are they planning to break into this over saturated smartphone market, where even the big players are having a hard time, I see emerging markets like India and the like with low budget phones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Apple is the least of Nokia's problems. The android market is so crowded that only samsung, and Huawei are making money on android. How will Nokia compete against the hoards of chinese companies that are making $200-$300 high specced phones? Nostalgia alone is not going to drive profits, and unless the new company is prepared to lose money for years the road will be long and hard.
  • Then go to Windows. If 2 companies are popular on one os, go to the os which made you popular. Have you heard the advertising campaign or whatever, "Lumia, The Windows Phone" Posted via the Android Central App
  • The problem is, Windows Phone didn't make Nokia popular. It nearly killed them. Posted via the Android Central App
  • WP is irrelevant, put a fork in it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Symbian made Nokia popular, maybe they should go back to that. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yesss Posted via the Honor 5x on Android 6.0.1
  • So we won't be getting the Nokia Android phones we wanted - which was a Lumia running Android. Instead we get another company putting the Nokia name on their designs. And this is exciting because? Posted from my Nokia 3310
  • Are we the only ones who know this??? They think the Nokia logo means it's Nokia. All they done was get permission to use the logo Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'll directly quote the DJCBS comment above, so it's easier for you..... "Well, HMD is a Finnish company, created by ex-Nokians, who will access the entire Nokia patent portfolio. It's basically Nokia. They're just a separate company... For the time being ;)" Hope that helps clear things up a bit for you ;)
  • This looks different from the Nokia N1 tablet which was manufactured by Foxconn. As the article says, the HMD team is ex-Nokia executives.
    If we are gonna get phones like the old colorful Lumias, consider me interested.
  • Don't be to sure about this. Foxconn builds very good phones and getting a Lumina, say like the 1520 will be a real possibility. I don't think that the quality will be a issue with Nokia having complete oversight on the build of them. Posted from my AT&T LG v10
  • The patents are Nokia's. The R&D is Nokia's. The designs are Nokia. The people at HMD are ex-Nokia employees. The only thing keeping HMD separate from Nokia is the name. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The patents were sold to Microsoft. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No, they were not. Microsoft has licensed them from Nokia but they remain a property of Nokia and in Nokia's hands.
  • Yes this is the future.lol But seriously I am writing a letter to Nokia personally pleading with them to stop with this not building a Lumia 1020 successor nonsense and just give us the goods. Can you imagine that 41 megapixel sensor tech on today's hardware with even more expanded pro camera features akin to an LG flagship with live preview of shutter speed and ISO changes unlike Windows Phone? And an app catalog with no compromise? I'm just waiting for it to happen. One picture at a time--LG V10
  • At least it's only the feature phones that they are taking from Microsoft. Feature phones are small screen unpopular phones that know one wants. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just hoping for that classic Nokia combo...firm build...great camera...great battery life.... Stock android with a killer camera app and close to minimal add-ons will be welcomed... Posted via the Android Central App
  • You always wanted a feature phone? I think that's what they are making.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nokia's name recognition will carry it further than many people here realize,especially here in the States. IF Foxconn builds them to as high of quality as Apple then they will do extremely well here. Nokia's demise was directly tied to Microsoft's inability to capture the mobile phone market and now that they are divesting themselves of Nokia Mobile Microsoft can concentrate on the Surface line of phones Can Nokia bring something good to Android.. Oh yeah.. They can especially with hardware...The problem is going to be the software, updates, and availability. IF they manage to nail down the software I see big trouble for all of the other little oems loosing what little dwindling market share they currently have. Posted from my AT&T LG v10
  • Nokia N950 with updated guts and Marshmallow or N... the landscape keyboard people will go nuts.
  • I think Nokia should stick with Windows Mobile it's what we know them as . It's to late in the game for them to bring out a android phone . Just look at blackberry. Didn't help them one bit . The fact that Microsoft paid 7.5 billion dollars with no plan to market your product has to be the biggest business blunder in history . Nokia android will die on the shelf Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's what YOU know them as. Windows Phone was the sole reason many people left Nokia phones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No... It's just what you want them to do. Microsoft needs it's own phone, not a Nokia branded device. Posted from my AT&T LG v10
  • .. Said no one ever. It's all about execution. The components are there. Nokia + Android = Take my money.
  • Ah yes, that worked out so well for them last time. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This ^ Posted via the Android Central App
  • Last time a company with the same sort of heritage as Nokia came back and reinvented themselves we got Moto X ...
    Nokia coming back and doing Android is going to be very interesting.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • With Google as the owner we got the Moto X... Now that Motorola has been sold off the phones have already gone downhill and the updates and warranty are taking a nosedive.
  • Isn't this Foxconn making a phone and putting the Nokia logo on it? Remember the Nokia tablet that came out... it was a complete rip off of the iPad... I would imagine this will be more of the same... another iPhone clone from a manufacturer like Foxconn but with the Nokia logo on it. I wouldn't expect to see Lumia styled devices at all.
  • But this time it's Nokia that has the say in design. Posted from my AT&T LG v10
  • No. HMD is an independent Finnish company that results basically of a partnership between Nokia and Foxconn. Nokia owns part of HMD. Foxconn also has a participation. So basically it's a joint venture of Nokia and Foxconn where the first does the phones and the second builds and manufactures them. Posted via the Android Central App
  • As much as I understand this is REALLY good news, I wouldn't be so overly optimistic. Blackberry has already tried the "perfect blackberry android phone" and they are not making any dents on established players. And they have been there all along, where Nokia went absent for two years. Not to mention established android OEMs that are not doing well at all, such as Sony and HTC. Yeah, of course, there is Nokia's legacy (or what's left of it), its patents and the current company being formed of ex-Nokians, but still, it is all about brand and the current Nokia doesn't hold the weight that behemoths, like apple and samsung, do nor do Nokia has the infinite marketing budget that a company, like samsung, has demonstrated. Probably those companies licenced most of Nokia patents anyway as well. And then you have the rising Chinese companies that will slaughter whatever comes their way (HTC and Sony are still licking their wounds) and won't shy away from ripping off whatever they like without giving a toss about patents. It is definitely nice a company with a Nokia mindset and a "Nokia" brand to come alive again to push boundaries and evoke new designs, but I don't see people hurtling towards a "Nokia" phone anytime soon. I would be even sceptical that they can overtake a company like HTC, which is far behind in the smartphone volume game now. All in all, unfortunately, it is a " watch this space" kinda of thing now, but I hope they manage to cut through the competition. Edit : On the GSMarena article related to Nokia's return, it states that the new company "will pump $500 million in global marketing over the next three years to revitalize the Nokia name, which has been cooling off after years of relative inactivity". Good luck with that!. For comparison Samsung, which its brand is not cooling off at all, spent $14 billion on marketing in 2013 only. The knowingly conservative Apple, which enjoys one of the strongest brands now, spent $1 billion on marketing in the same year rising to $1.8 billion in 2015. You can see now why the picture is nowhere near as bright as it may seem.
  • Fair points, but it must be noted that Blackberry overpriced the Priv at launch and that could be part of what hurt it. If they don't copy the mistakes of BB, and deliver a nice experience, they can surely be underdogs.
  • I think blackerry's epic fail was it launched it too late, the price was just another hurdle on the way. Another problem for the new Nokia, it is way too late. But then again they might inspire others. Blackberry's priv for example definitely inspired samsung's keyboard covers for their galaxy phones. So Nokia will definitely teach others a thing or two.
  • BB didn't build the perfect Android phone and the vast majority of people who loved them never embraced them. I am quite sure there will be those who love Windows phone will feel the same, but Nokia has a better name recognition than the other cheap Android imports and will be able to capitalize on this. The problem I see is availability here in the States and getting them on the carriers shelves. Posted from my AT&T LG v10
  • I said "the perfect Blackberry android phone" not the perfect android phone (spoiler there's not a perfect phone anyway). What I meant is that the Priv is a phone that had all the features (Security, Keyboard, BB hub.....etc) that blackberry has been renowned for in addition to the wining ingredient of android, but that didn't end up in a winning recipe. Definitely, Nokia still has some good recognition but in other countries it is the way opposite. In the US, as far as I know (you obviously know better), Nokia has always been doing badly since the mid noughties, which was its prime time. Even over here in the UK, people moved on from Nokia since the very late noughties. So it is not all rosy in this area.
  • " Blackberry has already tried the "perfect blackberry android phone" and they are not making any dents on established players." This is where the brand makes all the difference. Blackberry never enjoyed the amount of brand-recognition that Nokia enjoys. "Not to mention established android OEMs that are not doing well at all, such as Sony and HTC." Again, HTC never even dreamt of coming near the brand recognition that Nokia has. As for Sony, they had that brand recognition but are losing because they keep making stupid decisions after stupid decisions. "Probably those companies licenced most of Nokia patents anyway as well." They haven't. The only company that entered a licensing agreement with Nokia post-2013 is LG. "And then you have the rising Chinese companies that will slaughter whatever comes their way " Which is why Nokia will be focusing on premium devices. Chinese brands are irrelevant in the premium market, specially in the West. As for the feature phone business, that's why Foxconn is doing them. They're Chinese (well, Taiwanese, but still, Chinese Republic). "I don't see people hurtling towards a "Nokia" phone anytime soon. I would be even sceptical that they can overtake a company like HTC, which is far behind in the smartphone volume game now." Want to bet that tons of people will be jumping on Nokia Android phones? And I'm pretty sure they'll quickly surpass HTC in relevance. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if they entered and quickly surpassed HTC, Sony and Motorola. And in not long after that, even LG. Real competition for these Nokia Android phones will only come from the usual suspects - Apple and Samsung. Mainly Samsung. As for the marketing, don't worry about the amounts spent. Nokia knows very well how to do marketing. They even made Windows Phone a thing while they were around. Their presence and interaction with customers, specially in social media, is something that most companies should learn from (and Microsoft actually did, if we're being honest).
  • I'm betting my money on nokia too, they will not beat chinese manufacturers on quantity, but on highend market i believe nokia will be something in the future Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't want to hold your horses as you seem very excited about it .
    As I said above, the worst that can happen is Nokia pushing others make better products and the best is to be an established player as you said, stealing sales from the likes of Apple and Samsung, so either way it's definitely a day to rejoice. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nokias smartphones were popular because of their cameras. IF this new company does not make cameras on the phones that beat everybody else they won''t sell.
  • Nokia owns a share of HMD. And HMD will have access to all the imaging patents of Nokia. So all the things you saw on WP along with all the things you couldn't see because of WP's own limitations will make their way to the new Nokia phones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I can't wait for the next Android powered 1020 with beefed up specs Ayyyyy lmao
  • Yesssss!! One picture at a time--LG V10
  • I would L.O.V.E. to see a Nokia Android phone that is as tough as the legendary Nokia 3310. Mmmmm, Android Smores....
  • I'll buy a Nokia android phone in a heartbeat
  • Why exactly would you do that Posted via the Android Central App
  • The same reason apple fans buy devices with an apple logo and Samsung fans buy devices with a galaxy logo Posted via Android Central App on 1+1
  • Bootloader can be unlocked? Then it may be the Nokia I've been waiting for.
  • Yes, very likely. Nokia has always been pretty open about those things so I don't think you'll have any problems there. HOWEVER, if the phones have some sort of sensitive proprietary thing in them, you may lose that if you unlock the bootloader (they have to protect their properties after all).
  • Whatever became of the sailfish OS? Posted via the Android Central App
  • That fish sailed...ba sum tish!
  • Failfish 2.0 is around, but their botched crowd funding campaign has basically killed Jolla. I hope Nokia swoops in. Posted via the Android Central App
  • A Lumia 920 like Android phone. Innovative and beautiful.
  • Don't forget that it'll be a tank
    I still have a 920 and just refuses to die Ayyyyy lmao
  • Here is the states the lines have been drawn already about brand loyalty . This move by Nokia is in my opinion to little to late . I've had y share of Nokia phone an loved them still have a 1520 which was there last real premium phone . The camera was there biggest selling point , but even that ship has sailed every flagship has a great camera . To come back now with a android OS hum in a sea of many .. nope just will not work sorry to say . And if you can't compete with apple and samsung in the marketing department then it game over . Business 1 0 1 you have to spend money to make money. That's why LG and HTC aren't selling an they both have a very good product Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's hard to not think this was the plan all along. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Put a fork in them already. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Speak for yourself. I haven't wanted a Nokia phone for many years.
  • And why would nokia on anriold make any different just asking Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nokia with Android and a flagship device will put Samsung and Apple in a very interesting competition in 2017.
    Pretty sure carriers globally will help Nokia with distribution so Nokia's flagship would have the same availability as Apple and Samsung devices have across the 5 continents.
  • I think it is going to be interesting to see just how good a flagship phone they can produce. Nokia's camera technology has been some of the best and so has their build quality, compared to most others, but it is all going to depend on what innovation they offer. Mid priced and entry-level phones aren't going to cut it and regardless of real world usage if they don't have the absolute best benchmarks they won't cause a ripple in the tech reviewers world. A dream Nokia for me would have 6gigs of ram.. The latest processor and gpu, and a 4000mah battery with SD card slot ip68 rating a full 6" amoled screen dual speakers quad microphones with the lg v10 dac and the HTC 10 amp. Add on a improved Lumina 920 camera with xenon flash along with a full Wacom pen support in a unlocked bootloader with a full theming engine that is fully equipped with a fm radio, ir scanner that has not only a top quality plastic, leather, glass and metal back available... I would camp out to get one.. But I won't hold my breath... Lol Posted from my AT&T LG v10
  • I think Nokia can stand out on Android because they've always dared to be a little different. Even the fact they went down the Windows Phone route proves they didn't want to just follow the crowd. I personally loved the many Lumia devices I had and hope they return with something similar. Microsoft have basically ruined all their good design there with their version. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nokia should partner with Motorola to implement shattershield on their phones... to live up to the Nokia indestructible legacy... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nokia has been leading the development of graphene for years now. Graphene is super strong and super light. I think they'd sooner release a graphene phone than enter a partnership with Lenovo.