Reports of Nokia returning to the mobile market in 2016 have been officially denied by the company, following a statement on its own website confirming that no phones will be manufactured by Nokia in or out of China.
It follows a string of reports claiming Nokia Technologies - the division in charge of patent protection and future products - were working on schematics for a new mobile device, which would be built by another manufacturer.
The wording is quite interesting in the statement, with Nokia stating it “currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.” That doesn't confirm Nokia is not planning another N1 tablet-style device, where it sells designs and licensing to a third-party manufacturer under the Nokia brand.
Technically, that would mean Nokia is not manufacturing or selling consumer handsets, simply offering its designs to a third-party company that would use the Nokia brand name to further its success.
Of course, in order for a company to use Nokia’s brand on a mobile, they will have to wait until late 2016. Nokia might have issued this statement in order to warn off any signs it might be breaking its deal with Microsoft.
Nokia also denied setting up an R&D facility in China for manufacturing, although it did not outright deny the construction and establishment of a research base in China. This would allow Nokia to get better access to networking, mapping and other technology trends in the region, alongside competitor pricing.
Even though Nokia denies the reports, it is hard to go against the word of more than a few people close to the company. It launched a tablet after it said it was done with the consumer industry, and we suspect it will soon launch some kind of smartphone plan with a third-party partner.
Nokia is shifting a lot of its business towards networking, with the £11 billion acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent. It is also planning to sell its Here Maps division for £2 to 3 billion, with a shopping list of buyers ready to bid.