In news that is sure to delight nostalgic mobile phone fans everywhere, Nokia has confirmed that it plans to re-enter the smartphone market.
The Finnish company sold its handset division for a reported £4.61 billion to Microsoft in April 2014, who subsequently dropped the Nokia brand from its Lumia range of devices.
At that point it seemed as though Nokia had left the mobile phone market for good and would continue to focus on expanding its networking and telecommunications equipment division. However, the launch of the Nokia N1 tablet late last year signalled that the company was ready to launch consumer products again.
Robert Morlino, spokesman for Nokia Technologies, explained that if his company can find a manufacturing partner, as was the case with Foxconn and the N1, it would consider releasing smartphones under the Nokia brand once more.
"If and when we find a world-class partner who can take on those responsibilities, we would work closely with them to guide the design and technology differentiation, as we did with the Nokia N1 Android tablet,” he said (opens in new tab). "That’s the only way the bar would be met for a mobile device we’d be proud to have bear the Nokia brand, and that people will love to buy."
As part of the Microsoft deal, Nokia is unable to release smartphones under its own brand until late 2016, so fans will have to wait a while before they can get their hands on the device. However, Nokia chief executive Rajeev Suri has indicated that his company is actively looking for suitable partners.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s Nokia dominated the mobile phone market, but the rise of Apple’s iPhone and later Android handsets resulted in the loss of most of its market share.