Finnish company HMD Global has officially announced its entry into the mobile market with Nokia-branded phones. The first Nokia-branded Android smartphones will be available in the first half of 2017, HMD said in a press statement on Thursday.
The announcement comes less than six months after the company signed a strategic licensing agreement with Nokia, giving HMD the exclusive use of the Nokia brand on mobile phones and tablets worldwide for the next 10 years. Back then, Nokia had said it was the process of acquiring from Microsoft the rights to use the "Nokia" trademark on feature phones until 2024, and design rights relating to Microsoft's feature phone business, which Redmond had acquired after it purchased Nokia's mobile business in 2013. With Thursday's announcement, it's clear that all the necessary arrangements are in place for HMD to use the Nokia name for smartphones, feature phones, and tablets.
"HMD has today announced the completion of transactions between HMD, FIH Mobile Limited (a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industries trading as Foxconn Technology Group) and Microsoft, which means that HMD can begin operations as the new home of Nokia phones," Nokia said in a statement.
"Under the agreement, Nokia will receive royalty payments from HMD for sales of every Nokia branded mobile phone and tablet, covering both brand and intellectual property rights," the statement added.
HMD says it working on a range of consumer devices that will focus on "innovation, quality, and experience" to combine with "iconic Nokia mobile phone attributes of design, robustness, and reliability". HMD has hired a lot of ex-Nokia employees (who transitioned to Microsoft after the buyout) to steer its efforts in regional markets like India.
"Nokia has been one of the most iconic and recognisable phone brands globally for decades," Arto Nummela, CEO of HMD Global said in the statement. "The excitement of re-introducing this much-loved, well-known and trusted brand to smartphone consumers is a responsibility and an ambition that everyone at HMD shares."
HMD is widely expected to unveil the first Nokia-branded smartphones at MWC, where it has signed up as one of the exhibitors. The upcoming Nokia Android phones have been the subject of several leaks, with the latest leaks suggesting the 'Nokia D1C' could come in two variants.