Nokia Signs Licensing and IP Agreement with HMD Global, New Android Nokia Phones Coming
After Nokia’s Lumia efforts and their long relationship, break-up and fallout with Microsoft, not many expected the Finnish phone legend to come back full-force, much less with Android in its portfolio. Yet it’s happening.
The brand is being rekindled through a new licensing agreement with HMD Global, a newly-founded Finnish company that’ll take over the branding and produce Nokia smartphones and tablets running Android. HMD was founded to focus specifically on Nokia-branded feature phones, smartphones and tablets, and it has conditionally agreed to acquire the rights to use the Nokia brand on feature phones from Microsoft. The company also intends to invest USD $500 million over three years to market the new Nokia-branded devices, funded via investors and profit.
Under the agreement, Nokia will receive royalty payments from HMD for the sales, and HMD will be led by Arto Nummela, who held senior positions at Nokia, and also was the head of Microsoft’s Mobile Devices business for Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa. HMD’s president would be Florian Seiche, currently Senior VIce President for European Sales and Marketing at Microsoft Mobile.
“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.” — Arto Nummela, CEO
Nokia had a discreet incursion into Android last year with the N1 Tablet, but now HMD will bring forth new hardware with Nokia’s branding. We don’t know exactly how much “Nokia” we’ll find in the resulting products, but the leadership roles and the fact that Nokia will take a seat on the Board of Directors of HMD suggest that we can expect involvement from the Finnish giant, as they’ll set “mandatory brand requirements and performance-related provisions”.
Foxconn will also participate in the Android endeavor, just like they had manufactured the N1 tablet. Foxconn’s subsidiary, FIH Mobile, is taking over the remainder of Nokia’s former feature phone business from Microsoft, and has an agreement with HMD and Nokia to “support the building of a global business for Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets”. This will give HMD, and thus Nokia, exclusive access to the global sales and distribution network that FIH will acquire from Microsoft, as well as the company’s device-manufacturing, supply chain and engineering capabilities.
There’s not much else to say other than that we are excited to see what comes out of this new company and these new partnerships. Nokia-branded Android phones have been a dream for many for too long, and it’s finally becoming a reality.
What do you think of Nokia’s new direction? Are you interested in a Nokia Android phone? Let us know your opinion down below!