It was a deal, done and decided between Nokia and Microsoft, where Microsoft acquired major part of the company Nokia, and the main point to note is that until 2016, under the terms of the sale of its handset business to Microsoft, Nokia is prohibited from making smartphones. But the company isn’t ending it here, as they announce the Nokia N1 tablet.
Update, 19th June 2015: Nokia will resume designing and licensing its handsets once again after the agreement period ends in 2016. In an interview with Germany’s Manager Magazin, Rajeev Suri said, “We will look for suitable partners,” “Microsoft makes mobile phones. We would simply design them and then make the brand name available to license.”
“They said Nokia is dead,” Nokia’s head of devices Sebastian Nyström, said as he announced the Nokia N1 today, at the Slush event in Finland. “I say, they couldn’t be more wrong.”
Nokia did show it has its eye on products other than smartphones (which they cannot make until Jan 2016), but Ramzi Haidamus, Nokia’s technology chief also said that “we will be looking at going into the cell phone licensing business post-Microsoft rights”.
The Nokia N1 tablet isn’t a product made by Nokia, but is made by Foxconn, the Chinese technology group, which is the one building iPhone for Apple. The standards for this tablet were given by Nokia, and the latter is also going to receive a license fee for the use of its brand.
Haidamus isn’t shy in comparing this with the iPad Mini (and in fact the Nokia N1 looks familiar to the iPad Mini), as he says the N1 tablet “would be as good as Apple’s iPad mini but cost less.”
“It’s the first of many coming – more SKUs, more sizes, more features,” he said, also mentioning about how they look to not limit themselves to tablet devices. “We will go beyond tablets for sure.”
The iconic name “Nokia” could also lose its brand value it had carried since decades, by coming into agreements with Asian manufacturers, who have been famous for making cheap products with not the best quality. But Mr Haidamus said that the partnerships made are made with control on design quality. “We are not just taking our brand and throwing it over the fence to see which products it sticks to. We are using our own industrial design team – the ones that have designed extremely successful Nokia products in the past – and delivering the design to Foxconn.”
Nystrom said, Nokia is about “great tech, great engineering, great design, and products that make things better for everyone,” claimed Systrom, who finished by saying, “People need better products, and we design those that make a difference.”
Could this be a sign that Nokia’s acquisition by Microsoft is more of an internal deal, where consumers are still going to be benefited and Nokia isn’t losing the tag already? Let’s hope it stays. The Nokia N1 looks promising for now, with the price of $249 and some excellent specs to power it, and the design does look like something made an approved by an experienced brand, rather than one of those Chinese manufacturers.