Once the largest handset manufacturer in the World, Nokia, has caused some raised eyebrows as it has started hiring software experts, testing new products and seeking sales partners in a bid to return to the handset market at the end of next year (2016).
Nokia sold off its handset division to Microsoft in 2013 after it had experienced a decline in sales as companies like Samsung and Apple effectively took hold of the vast majority of the market.
Nokia itself is not giving much away about its preparations, beyond saying some staff at the 600-strong technologies division are working on designs for new consumer products, including phones, as well as in digital video and health.
Rajeev Suri said that Nokia would re-enter the mobile phone business, but only through licensing agreements. It will not fall back on the “traditional” methods, said the CEO. Since taking the helm last May he has turned it into a slimmed down, more profitable company.
Nokia is seeking partners for “brand-licensing” deals whereby Nokia will design new phones, bearing its brand, but – in exchange for royalties – will then allow other firms to mass-manufacture, market and sell the devices.
“They want to be innovative and seen as a company with long-term vision in the (tech) industry and having a foot in devices plays into this impression, even if it’s not bringing massive revenue at the outset,” said Gartner analyst Sylvain Fabre.