Don’t expect a new Nokia mobile phone any time soon. The company repeated itself on Monday, saying that if and when it returns to the mobile business, it won’t actually be the one producing the devices. "Will Nokia return to mobile devices?" spokesman Robert Morlino said in a statement. "The answer is: it's complicated."
Morlino continued, saying that Nokia’s path back to mobile phones would be through a partner that takes responsibility for the manufacturing, sales, marketing and consumer support. Partnering with a company would allow Nokia to focus on the underlying design and technology of the devices, and outsource the rest.
Given that Nokia’s devices and services unit was bought by Microsoft last year (for a staggering 5.4 billion Euros), finding a partner makes sense. Why would Nokia want to rebuild what they just sold?
Whatever path Nokia takes, nothing can happen immediately. They have an agreement with Microsoft that states the soonest Nokia could produce a new phone is the final quarter of 2016. Rumors about Nokia returning to the mobile game surfaced in April, with Recode reporting that it would do so via the design route. A different report said Nokia would build Android-powered smartphones in Sichuan and relocate its global R&D center there, but Nokia denied that.
Nokia may not be in the mobile phone business, but they continue to work away on things such as mobile network infrastructure, location services, and technology development.