The news this week that Microsoft is buying a major part of Nokia had many people lamenting the end of the Nokia brand in the mobile space, but as we dive into the details of the press release we see a glimmer of hope for future Nokia-branded smartphones.
We may even see Nokia-branded Sailfish or Android-powered smartphones as early as January 2016.
As ZDNet's Liam Tung pointed out yesterday in the terms of the agreement Nokia will continue to own and manage the Nokia brand. Microsoft will license the Nokia brand to use with Asha devices, but Nokia can use the Nokia brand on smartphones after 31 December 2015.
After Elop killed the MeeGo initiative, that included the awesome N9 I still own today, Nokia folks that were still passionate about that OS left to start up Jolla with the Sailfish OS. Jolla is planning to roll out their first smartphone before the end of the year, but this may be a future option for Nokia to purchase and then brand as Nokia smartphones in early 2016.
Android-powered Nokia smartphones are another possibility in the future. I understand that the Microsoft purchase means that the current Nokia hardware design and manufacturing resources go to Microsoft, but Nokia could return to its innovative roots and start over fresh with a new team for Android. Shoot, given the serious financial troubles HTC is in, maybe Nokia could pick up HTC people (just not the designers who were recently arrested) and use their manufacturing to develop HTC designed and Nokia branded Android smartphones.
The purchase of Nokia resources to support Microsoft's Windows Phone OS was inevitable when Nokia went all in with Windows Phone. However, all hope is not lost for future Nokia-branded smartphones and the more I think about it the more I get excited about the possibilities for Nokia in the future.
UPDATE: It looks like previous Nokia employees are already thinking of ways to bring new smartphones running Android to the world as we see in the Newkia news.
Global coverage: Nokia Interim CEO: Microsoft deal makes us stronger | Even with Nokia devices, Microsoft wants to license Windows Phone to other makers | Does its Nokia buy thwart or fuel a possible Microsoft break-up? | Microsoft shows how to flush decades of Nokia goodwill away | Microsoft gets less than $10 per Windows Phone unit | Microsoft-Nokia deal: Reaction from the Twitter trenches | Elop drops Nokia CEO role to lead devices team under Microsoft deal | Microsoft-Nokia deal: 11 quick facts | Microsoft to buy Nokia's devices, services unit for $7.2B