Nokia to launch new devices likely powered by Android in 2016

Nokia is to return to the smartphone business. Photo: Nokia

Nokia is to return to the smartphone business. Photo: Nokia

Almost a year since it sold its smartphone business to Microsoft, Nokia is preparing to launch new phones for 2017, according to sources familiar with the Finnish firm’s plans. Details are scarce for now, but it’s likely the devices will be powered by Android.

Nokia’s plans are still very much a mystery, but according to Recode, two sources who “have been briefed” by the company say the aim is to rejoin the consumer mobile phone market as early as next year.

When Nokia sold its handset business to Microsoft for around $7.2 billion last year, it agreed not to sell smartphones carrying its logo for a certain period of time. But that restriction ends during the fourth quarter of 2016.

It would appear that Nokia is keen to return to selling phones as soon as it possibly can, then, but of course, we won’t see it making Lumia-branded Windows Phones anymore. Instead, the company’s next devices will likely run Android.

Nokia will almost certainly avoid Windows Phone, which was widely blamed for the limited success of the company’s Lumia series. It’s highly unlikely it will launch a new platform of its own, either, given how hard it is to compete with Android and iOS.

What’s more, Nokia has already released an Android-powered iPad mini clone called the N1, and the device generated a heck of a lot of interest — perhaps a lot more than Nokia’s Windows Phone devices ever did?

But don’t get too excited over the idea of a Lumia-like device running Android, because Nokia’s future handsets probably won’t look anything like its previous ones. They probably won’t even be manufactured by Nokia.

Just like that N1 tablet, the devices will likely be make by a third-party company that will be authorized to use Nokia’s moniker.

Recode reports that the Nokia Technologies team, which licenses Nokia’s massive patent portfolio, is responsible for developing the new devices. It is also working on “a number of other ambitious technology projects, including some in the virtual reality arena.”