Good news, everyone! Nokia is back. You remember Nokia, right? They were one of the first signature phones of the late 90’s cell phone boom. They were virtually indestructible and notoriously efficient. Rumors of Nokia dipping their feet in proverbial smartphone pond have been floating around the tech industry for years, but now it seems as if they’re finally going to make an announcement soon. Granted, everything is primarily speculation at this point. The Nokia brand has stubbornly refused to confirm or deny the allegations that they’re looking to take on the iPhone and the Windows Phone.
So what’s taken them so long to make a comeback? Some analysts believe it has a lot to do with Nokia’s contract with Microsoft. As Chris Smith of BGR wrote, “As per its contract with Microsoft following the sale of its mobile business, Nokia can’t sell any smartphones under its brand through the end of the year, and can’t license its brand to other companies until at least the third quarter of 2016.” In other words, Nokia isn’t looking to get involved with Microsoft’s smartphone production. Back whenever Nokia dropped out of the cell phone race, they sold their business to the then-primarily computer company. But now, Microsoft has their hands in the pocket of not only smartphones, with the Microsoft Phone, but also consoles like the Xbox One. Nokia is also reportedly looking into “virtual reality and other ‘ambitious’ projects,” according to Smith.
Nokia does indeed have their name on smartphones out there, such as the Nokia Lumia. But these products aren’t directly handled through Nokia, as Microsoft holds the licensing and is merely using the brand name for recognition. The Lumia and other Nokia-named devices typically run on the Windows Phone’s operating system. Quentin Plummer of the E-Commerce Times reports, “Though the Lumia line has been absorbed by Microsoft, Nokia still holds much of its intellectual property, and it has put itself in a better position to leverage its patents for licensing deals, according to Shah.” It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on this story as it develops, considering Nokia, in the height of its career, always managed to stay ahead of competition in terms of quality and efficiency.
What happens next is anybody’s guess. MediaRitch President Ritch Blasi did farily note, “The first hurdle would be showing it can re-enter a segment that it abandoned due to a lack of innovation and failure to catch up or keep up with competitors. Nokia would need to prove itself all over again to carriers worldwide.” Maybe after so many years, Nokia is finally ready to answer the call of the challenge.