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« USA Election Update for mid-May: The Summer Doldrums for Trump and Hillary | Main | Just heard the news, hold on am on trip gotta board plane.. ie Nokia return via Foxconn »

May 16, 2016



Here is another link. Nokia will make Androids.


Nokia brand is back. New Finnish company HMD Global with Taiwanese partner FIH Mobile Of Foxconn Tech Group. Takes back feature phone business from Microsoft for $350M US.

Wayne Borean

Nice move by Nokia. They take no risks, but make some money from the deal, while retaining a certain amount of control (to prevent crappy devices from ruining the Nokia name).

And the new holder of the branding rights is based in Finland, which is an excellent choice. It might make Nokia the goto phone for many in the Nordic countries and Europe as a whole.


Tomi will have fun analyzing and speculating on the ramifications of Nokia's re-entry into a saturated smartphone market. Who of the existing makers will have their market share cannibalized over the next few years - will Nokia survive or will others collapse. Come on down Tomi - looking forward to another great read.
ps - any chance of getting another update of my still working N9 - didn't think so.




Given that Nokia has experience with the N1 tablet and the X series phones running Android, and those devices were accepted by the market without any major effort, I am pretty sure that Nokia knows what they are getting into.

It will be fun to watch in any case. The manufacturer who has most to lose might be the one who gained most from Nokia's self-destruction (ie. Samsung).

Abdul Muis

I think it's depend.

If the market think Nokia is premium enough, it could hit apple/samsung.
If the market think Nokia is bellow premium, and the pricing is comparable to chinese vendor, then the chinese vendor will be hurt.


@Wayne Brady
> No numbers have come out. No successor was released.

Nokia knows the sales numbers, I'm sure. If the N1 tablet's only purpose was to act as a pipe-cleaner and gauge market interest, then there was no need for an immediate successor.


No speculation anymore.

Nokia phones are making a comeback with Android on board


Ecosystem (Android) + Manufacturing expertise (Foxcon - manufacturer of iphone) + design expertise & brand of Nokia is formidable combination. Nokia's recent acquisition of Withings, a digital health firm also means it could give the much needed push to its wearable division like emoticon


@Wayne Brady:

"This is the Nokia brand, but this is not Nokia."

Maybe not in name, but this entire deal smells like it's all a front to get around Microsoft's conditions for the acquisition of the Nokia phone business. Nokia itself cannot do it, obviously.


@Wayne Brady
> I'm sure both Nokia and Foxconn learned something from the experiment of the N1. But there is ZERO evidence that it was a success. It was just another mid priced Android tablet that looked like an iPad and came with the Z Launcher.

Again, I think you don't understand what was the purpose behind the N1.
It was not intended as comeback of Nokia in the mass market. They would have sold it worldwide and would have chosen a different marketing strategy if that had been the case.

> If folks thought that Nokia and Msft together were doomed from the get go --- you can't possibly expect much from the assembling of misfit parts

Tomi already wrote about several times about the Nokia X series. Give people what they want and it will sell.

crun kykd

My prediction: Nokia gets back into mobile phones, but at the high-end. They introduced their $60K Ozo VR camera recently, top-notch for movie makers. Google just announced a new mobile VR-focused Android release N. A new entrant into any market (like mobile) can only succeed when there is some changing of the technology stack. VR is that change, and Nokia is capable of succeeding in a race where all competitors are starting in the same place. I forsee Nokia returning with Android-based VR mobile phones and professional VR accessories.


@Wayne: "If folks thought that Nokia and Msft together were doomed from the get go --- you can't possibly expect much from the assembling of misfit parts"

I am also not too optimistic about this endeavour. They are entering a mature market with heavily entrenched competition. It's not 2011 anymore.

But this doesn't mean that the new Nokia brand is doomed from the start. It just means that in order to succeed, they have to come up with a good plan which they have to execute flawlessly. No margin for errors here.

What they need to do is:

- Don't cater to the geeks alone, but also don't alienate them (regular people are asking geeks for advice after all, so make your devices developer friendly)
- Add features regular users understand and want
- Leverage Foxconn's capabilities to release phones with top notch quality

As an example, they could copy the approach of Motorola when they were Google-owned: Release quick updates even for older devices, stay close to AOSP and quickly release security patches for all devices.

This would give Nokia users a Nexus-like experience. Add SD card support and you already have an advantage over the various Nexus-phones.

For further advantages, add an IR blaster, a replaceable battery, a display well suited for VR, a good DAC and a superiour camera (don't forget OIS, a laser focus and a Xenon flash).

Then provide a tool to unlock the bootloader for all phones in all countries to become the darling of the XDA community.

Finally, sell your phones everywhere and apply a good marketing strategy all around the globe.

Then Nokia has a chance, but as I said the execution must be flawless.



"How well did Nokia's Android phones really sell? I would be surprised if the sales were that good since Nokia only shipped forked Android phones with a WP8 like UI and also without Google Play. Did the people really want all that?"

Apparently they sold more than Microsoft would have liked, otherwise we'd have some actual numbers. But with the numbers apparently hurting Microsoft's standing, they all got buried inside other stuff.


"the purpose behind the N1 [...] was not intended as comeback of Nokia in the mass market."

This was pretty clear then -- since Nokia was not manufacturing or selling the device -- and I wrote so then in this very site.

It is exactly the same situation now -- because Nokia will not design, manufacture or sell the new HMD/FIH devices.

What I really wonder: what was the real purpose of the N1, a device that was announced discretely, marketed confidentially, and forgotten immediately?

We should also stop talking about "Nokia returning to mobile phones", or "giving Nokia users a Nexus-like experience". The new venture is a brand-engineering endeavour. There is nothing "Nokian" in it but the name.

Let me stress it again: Nokia is _not_ returning to the mobile handset market, no longer has the capabilities to, and is not willing to.

Expectations regarding quality, features, innovation or popularity of the putative new devices must be calibrated (down) accordingly. Thus, the rumoured Nokia C1 has supposed specs that make it an unremarkable "me-too" Android slab without any USP whatsoever -- not even a removable battery or a microSD card slot. If released in this form, it will fizzle as rapidly as the N1.

Yes, in the past Nokia had lots of interesting developments going on, and plenty of accumulated experience and competence -- which were systematically dismantled by Elop/Microsoft. The Nokia X/X2/XL were released 2 years ago. Nothing equivalent since, their designers and developers scattered to all winds.

My guess is that HMD/FIH will be at best a larger Jolla, nothing more.

Wayne Borean

Um, are you people real? We have almost no information yet beyond the simple fact that a deal has been made. Talking about the company releasing a specific type of phone is moronic. We have no ideas what sort of planning has been going on behind the scenes (and believe me, planning meetings have been going on for at least the last six months and possibly the last year).

Yes, a lot of people are gone. So what? Churn is a fact of life. Other people can, and will be hired. And the market has changed, which means that some of the people working for Nokia when Elop sold the phone business had the wrong skill sets.

All we can do at present, until we have more information is guess.

While I'd like to see Nokia introduce a flagship, that may not be part of their plans. Maybe they intend to hit the low end of the market only. Maybe they have another plan. We don't know, and we won't know until further information is released.


> How well did Nokia's Android phones really sell?

As Barney said, the exact sales numbers are being kept secret. But by all accounts it was surprisingly much. Quoting Tomi:
"the carriers are rejecting Lumia only because of Windows, if Nokia offered Android smartphones the sales boycott is instantly lifted. He even tested that theory in 2014, and saw how rapidly the Nokia X Series took off. That is why right after Nokia exited the phone business in 2014, the CEO already promised this year that Nokia will return in 2016 - on Android."

> Nokia only shipped forked Android phones with a WP8 like UI and also without Google Play. Did the people really want all that?

Question is, if a gimped Android without Google Play and with that awful launcher apparently sold only through the Nokia brand, how much will a decent smartphone with full Google Play and full marketing sell?


@Wayne Borean

"Churn is a fact of life."

You realize there is a non-trivial difference between "churn" and "slash", don't you?

Besides, the organizational knowledge -- about designing mass-market products, managing projects, marketing the products, etc, is gone. Nokia had a specific corporate culture that relied heavily on the informal networks cutting laterally through the organization (in contrast to some very hierarchical competitors). All of this is lost and cannot be reassembled -- it must be completely _rebuilt_ from scratch.

"some of the people working for Nokia when Elop sold the phone business had the wrong skill sets."

This is much less of an issue than the fact that those who had the _right_ skill sets have left to greener pastures (at Microsoft, Apple, Huawei, etc). I strongly doubt they will come back.

"All we can do at present [...] is guess."

We can do more, because we have evidence: the announcements are unambiguous as to the respective roles of HMD, FIH and Nokia. We have history: the previous shot with the Nokia N1. We have the evolution of Nokia: entering accessories (acquisition of Withings) and professional tools (OZO camera). And we have the overall context of the mobile market -- for which Tomi provides ample stats and analyses.

"I'd like to see Nokia introduce a flagship [...] Maybe they intend to hit the low end of the market only."

Obviously, and the incontrovertible evidence has been published by Nokia itself, the company will target neither the high-end nor the entry-level segment, but only rent its brand. Nothing more.

This reminds me a bit (with all massive differences between products) of the attempts to relaunch once famous automobile brands like Talbot and Maybach. They all failed -- even when bringing the full technical and marketing weight of Daimler-Benz to bear.

There must be substance and uniqueness behind a brand. Nokia had it (extremely robust handsets, long-lived batteries, innovative cameras, multiple connectivity options, etc). I fail to see any substance behind a Nokia logo fronting for generic Foxconn (HMD/FIH) devices.


@ Wayne Brady
"Elop's departure bonus is looking well deserved at this point"

So if your buddy trashed your Ferrari but got a reasonable price for it as scrap metal you'd give him a 'well deserved' bonus?

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