Nokia-branded Android smartphones could appear as early as January 2016

Nokia-branded Android smartphones could appear as early as January 2016

Summary: Nokia remains a company after the Microsoft purchase with the rights to release Nokia-branded smartphones after 31 December 2015. Will Nokia return to its innovative roots and launch new smartphones running Android or Sailfish?

Nokia-branded Android smartphones could appear as early as January 2016

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

Topics: Mobility, Android, Nokia, Smartphones

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  • Delusional

    The entire Nokia smartphone manufacturing and distribution arm has been severed and is now part of Microsoft. How do propose they re-start this entire infrastructure? This has to be a ZDNet first? Another brainless article? Come on... get real. :)
    • Manufacturing and distribution - ubuntu

      Canonical doesn't have smartphone manufacturing and distribution channels either. They found an approach to work around that (didn't work out in the end, tough).
    • Totally true

      Apple really struggles to gain any market share without the manufacturing facilities that are required to compete in the mobile space.
      Little Old Man
      • In my mind that was obvious

        but for some people it might need the /s adding.
        Little Old Man
  • Hmmm

    In 2016 Android and Google will be owned by Samsung but already be dying with steadily declining market share at under 30%. Samsung will have launched their own OS which supplanted Android at 40%. iOS will be around 10%, Win-merge#9 at 18%, a dozen Fragmented Linux derivatives making up the remaining 2% Nokia will float a device which lands with a thud ala BlackBerry, makes a swift exit, and keeps a healthy stream of revenue flowing from Patents produced by their first class R&D labs.
    • you forgot add

      and Microsoft will die with Apple from the number of patents they will sue for all the rest
  • The Android fanboy dream never dies

    Nokia has evolved many times over its long history. It has evolved again. It won't be doing phones any more than it will be making rubber boots.
  • "Nokia"

    So, what is "Nokia?" If Nokia phones are great phones (as I believe they are), wouldn't the brain trust of Nokia's people make them great, rather than the name stamped on the front of the device? Therefore, why would hiring HTC folks and releasing phones under the Nokia brand somehow give you a "Nokia" experience by anything but the name? Is Nokia's greatness stored up in a few executives, or in the patents, or in the business units that aren't going to Microsoft? In my mind, if you want to build comparable (superior?) phones, you'd need to get the people back. An interesting thing would be if the employees are going to sign non-compete clauses, and for how long, once they are employed with Microsoft, as most likely some will eventually move on.
  • Awesome

    It'd be awesome for Nokia to release Android powered handsets because Android is such a vibrant market wherein all OEM's are making good money. Right?

  • Unlikely but an interesting exercise

    Nokia is a very old company, they have done many different things... you never know what the future will hold for them.

    While I don't see Nokia getting back to phones so soon (if ever) that would be an interesting thing to watch. I don't see them alone doing that, just with the help of an external investor - and I still say unlikely.

    A Phoenix Nokia rising from the ashes with android, could be something generating some sales and become dearly to some consumers. But in 3 years the Nokia name will be probably almost gone. They are suffering a fast erosion, losing sales around the globe, the sad true is that people are falling out of love for them.
  • It's an epidemic...

    Seriously, don't we have enough Android phones...why do we need more? There is no competing with oneself, no matter what "clothes" you wear!
    • They need more...

      So Android can get to 100% fragmentation instead of their current 99% :)
      • Everyone should have their own OS

        I have said for a while now every person should have their own OS. Short of nuking them from space it's the only way to stanch the virus tide. /S
  • Just what the world needs

    Yet another manufacturer of Android phones. If Nokia had gone with Android, like so many lame brained tech writers have urged them to, they'd be Samsung roadkill right now just like HTC.

    After the coming shakeout, there's only going to be three smartphone vendors of note: Samsung, Apple, and now Microsoft. Notice any similarity between them? They all have deep pockets and are in it for the long run.
    Sir Name
    • Why Samsung can't "kill" Nokia or any other brand?

      Is it that different?
      • Yes, it's that different

        Since MS, Apple, and Google, and even Samsung make money from many different product lines, HTC, Motorola, and others do not.

        If the phones they make don't sell to expectations, what do they have to fall back on in the lean times?
        William Farrel
        • They don't make profit because they are not as good as samsung

          Do you believe others would beat Samsung with (arguable) weaker OS?

          And it's not true that it's just Samsung making money from android. I've posted numbers from several brands in another post.
    • Re: they'd be Samsung roadkill right now just like HTC.

      And just like Huawei, Lenovo, LG and Sony.

      Oh, wait, all those companies are actually MAKING MONEY from Android now...
  • I bet on Jolla

    Microsoft is not allowed to name the Lumia smartphones Nokia any longer.
    Jolla will release their first Jolla smartphones by the end of the year, mainly targeting developers.
    Two more years to let the platform ripe, and in 2016 we'll have Nokia Sailfish smartphones again!
    • re:

      ...and in 2017 we'll have Nokia bankrupt and liquidating assets.
      Sir Name