How time flies. In 2014, Nokia sold off its mobile business to Microsoft and took a sabbatical from making devices. Last week, Nokia got back in the phone business and its license to HMD Global too effect. In other words, there is Microsoft mobile (which is run by Microsoft) and there is Nokia once again (this time with devices to be produced by HMD Global). The former bed fellows are now competitors in the smartphone and tablet markets.
While Microsoft is sticking with Windows 10, the new Nokia smartphones and devices will run Android OS. In addition, we will see more of the good old Nokia-branded feature phones being pushed in the market. In partnership with Foxconn, HMD was able to buy Nokia’s feature phone business off Microsoft. Of course, Microsoft was never interested in feature phones though they remain huge sellers in many emerging markets. Foxconn will be making Nokia’s feature phones going forward.
Anyway, everybody wins. Microsoft got its Windows Phones. Nokia is back in mobile. Who said you couldn’t eat your cake and have it?
An interesting observation is that Microsoft has not announced any new Lumia smartphones in a while. Perhaps they will not be announcing any more. The Redmond giant seems to be more focused on getting their hardware partners to push out phones for them instead. Think HP. Think Alcatel.
For all we care, the Lumia 650 may very well be the last Lumia.
New Nokia phones: The Sharp Connection
There are tons of Nokia smartphone renders out there. Five months ago, we saw one such render which turned out to be a re-badged Sharp smartphone. In April 2016, Foxconn acquired Sharp Electronics. Perhaps the fastest and most cost-effective way to get Nokia-branded smartphones to the market is through re-badging.
When BlackBerry decided to get into Android OS, re-badging was the way they took and it looks like it was a good decision. BlackBerry’s DTEK series are re-badged Alcatel smartphones. Since Foxconn is in bed with HMD Global right now, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Sharp smartphones to be re-badged for Nokia. Re-badging means lower production costs and if HMD is serious, they should know that the present global smartphone market thrives on good cost ratios for devices. The Nokia brand has always thrived on that.
Nokia versus Microsoft
These two old buddies will now have to compete in the same smartphone market. While Microsoft has not done well with smartphones, the company has had a good run with its Surface tablets. Microsoft’s Windows smartphones and tablets will compete in the same market as Nokia’s upcoming Android smartphones and tablets. These old buddies will fight for turf on the same playing field.
Call me a fanboy, but I envisage Nokia building up marketshare quickly. Certainly nothing on the scale that it enjoyed before its decline years ago. But bigger than what Microsoft’s Lumia range currently has. The Nokia brand still has huge mindshare across the world. Not many brands can generate the buzz that this Finnish brand is generating now after a two-year break.