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Phoenix from the flames: Nokia’s coming back to mobile

Nokia is coming back, and we’re going to once again see its name on phones and tablets in the near future. Only this time Microsoft won’t be involved, and Windows won’t be installed. The next generation of Nokia hardware will run Android, and be handled by a new company called HMB.

The news comes as Nokia emerges from its messy divorce with Microsoft. It has long promised to make a triumphant return to mobile, and now it has the chance to speak about it officially. Here’s how it’ll work. Nokia’s giving new Finnish company HMD exclusive rights to use the Nokia brand on future feature phones, smartphones, and tablets, in return for royalty payments.

HMD is an independent company, and has negotiated the release of Nokia feature phone branding from Microsoft — something it acquired when it took on Nokia’s Devices division — and “related design rights,” meaning sequels to familiar looking feature phones are possible. All this combined gives HMD the ability to sell hardware with the Nokia name on it all around the world.

Nokia says its feature phones are still very popular, but we’re more interested in its plans for Android. There aren’t many details here, except that HMD will produce a complete new range of smartphones and tablets running Google’s operating system, which will be sold alongside the feature phone range. It appears HMD will be creating Nokia 2.0, with an entire line-up of mobile devices suitable for all people, at every price point.

Nokia’s providing the brand name, plus all the necessary patents for building mobile devices, and HMD is sorting out the sales, marketing, and distribution. Which company will build all the new phones? Step forward FIH Mobile, which is a subsidiary of Foxconn, the company best known for building Apple iPhones and a whole host of other mobile equipment for many of the major names in the industry. Finally, heading up HMD as CEO will be ex-Nokia and Microsoft man Arto Nummela, and the company’s president is expected to be Florian Seiche, another ex-Microsoft and Nokia high flier.

Leave aside all the business machinations, and you’re left with a single takeaway — Nokia is making a big return to mobile, and it’s not messing around. The only question we’re left with is when the first new Nokia device will come, and it’s one that’s not been answered yet, but based on previous comments, it may be before the end of the year. One thing’s for sure though, Nokia — seemingly the real Nokia — is making a comeback.