Nokia wants a world-class partner to help it make a new phone

Nokia Lumia 735

Nokia has taken the unusual step of addressing persistent rumors regarding its return to the smartphone world, in an official statement written by Nokia Technologies spokesman, Robert Morlino.

In the short, concise post, Morlino quickly answers the question of whether Nokia will return to making mobile phones. However, the answer isn’t precise because as he admits, the situation is very complicated.

Everything Nokia needs to produce a smartphone — from manufacturing to marketing and distribution — has been sold to Microsoft. Nokia, even if it was allowed to, is at the moment about as able to build and sell a new device as you and I are. It’s not giving up though, and Morlino states that even though it’s concentrating on mobile infrastructure and technology development at the moment, it ‘aims to continue bringing our iconic design capabilities and technology innovation to the mobile space, and in the firm of amazing products people can someday hold in their hands.’

It just won’t be in the same was as before. Morlino confirms that Nokia will pursue a brand-licensing model, where a ‘world-class partner’ will take a Nokia designed product and make it reality. We’ve seen this already, in the shape of the Nokia N1 tablet, produced for the Chinese market last year.

None of this is a shock, and it actually echoes Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri’s words in an interview he gave during June. Suri stopped short of providing any timeframe for Nokia’s return, a detail which Morlino uses to close his statement. While it looks for the ‘right partner who can take on the heavy lifting,’ Nokia must wait until the last three months of 2016 before anyone can put out a phone with the Nokia name attached, ensuring it honors the agreement made with Microsoft in 2014.

That’s a year and a half minimum to wait before we could see a new Nokia-branded smartphone. Whether it choses to explore other branches of the mobile tech world, like it did with the N1 tablet, in the meantime remains to be seen.