Nokia Plans Smartphone Return with New Android Devices

After years of multiple corporate makeovers, Finland-based Nokia, once the world's largest seller of mobile phones, plans to re-enter the market in 2017 with a new lineup of Android-powered smartphones.

HMD Global Oy, a new Finnish brand that is now the sole global licensee for all Nokia devices, made the announcement today. The company said it plans to release a fresh generation of Android smartphones in the first half of next year through a "unique" strategic partnership with Nokia, Android OS developer Google and FIH Mobile Limited, a subsidiary of the Foxconn Technology Group known for its manufacturing of Apple's iPhones.

The news points to HMD's ambitions to become a viable competitor to today's top smartphone companies: Samsung, which surpassed Nokia as a leader in 2012 and currently holds nearly one-fourth of the global smartphone market, and Apple, which controls just over 13 percent of that market. Nokia also plans to continue its current production of non-smart, so-called "feature" phones.

Aiming for 'A New Way in Mobile'

"We believe that the time is right for renewal in the mobile industry," HMD Global president Florian Seiche said in a statement today. "The market is fatigued and flooded with undifferentiated products. Consumers are looking for technology with clear purpose that is useful, exciting and with a brand they can trust, so our approach will focus on true, core user experiences and a dedication to quality."

Nokia's smartphone roadmap is making its debut just over six months after HMD announced it had signed an exclusive, 10-year licensing agreement for the company's mobile phone and tablet brand. That announcement came as Microsoft revealed it was shedding the Nokia devices and services business, which it had acquired in 2013.

HMD CEO Arto Nummela, a former Nokia executive, told Reuters that his current company wants to be...

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