After selling its mobile phone business to Microsoft, Nokia Technologies is quietly planning to make a comeback in the smartphone market. According to a report in Re/Code, the company is likely to keep its smartphone ambitions small to just designing the phones and licensing them to some other manufacturer, which will handle sales, support and marketing. The company employed a similar tactic with Nokia N1 tablet in China.
Re/Code states, citing sources familiar with Nokia’s plans, that the company isn’t sticking to just smartphones, it is also working on many other technology projects including some dealing with virtual reality. There are however no specifics available at this point.
Even if Nokia indeed goes ahead with the smartphone plans and designs a device and licenses it to someone else to sell, we aren’t going to see a new Nokia-branded smartphone until Q4 of 2016, as the company is currently waiting for its contract with Microsoft to expire. The company can not sell any phones under the Nokia brand through the end of this year or license the brand for use in phones by others until at least Q3 of 2016.
Whenever the company does comeback to the smartphone business, it won’t be the same Nokia that existed a few years ago. It is no longer interested in building manufacturing infrastructure or committing resources to make its smartphones succeed in the current cut-throat market. The recent acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent business also indicates that the company is heading towards rebuilding it as a network equipment provider and the devices will just remain a hobby for it.