Nokia smartphones to return in 2017

James Pearce
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HMD Global will launch Android-powered Nokia devices next year after taking control of the Finnish brand's handset license from Microsoft

Nokia phones will reappear on shelves in 2017 as newly-formed manufacturer HMD Global took control of the Finnish brand from Microsoft.

HMD, which is made up of veteran Nokia executives from its handset division, was formed six months ago, and is backed by Foxconn as a manufacturing partner.

The Finnish company has signed an exclusive 10-year brand licensing agreement with Nokia which will see take control of the vendor’s feature phone business and launch Android-powered smartphones in the first half of 2017.

Nokia was the world’s biggest mobile phone-maker, with a 50.8% global share in 2007, according to Statista. By 2013, the year Microsoft announced plans to acquire Nokia’s handset division in a $7.9 billion deal, this had fallen to just 2.8%.

Microsoft stopped using the Nokia brand on its handsets in October 2014, opting for the Lumia sub-brand for smartphones instead, and sold off its feature phone business to HMD in May for $350 million.

HMD Global is headed up by Arto Nummela as CEO. Nummela was previously VP at Microsoft Mobile Devices Sales for greater Asia, Middle East and Africa. He originally joined Nokia in 1994.

Nummela said: “Nokia has been one of the most iconic and recognisable phone brands globally for decades. The excitement of re-introducing this much-loved, well-known and trusted brand to smartphone consumers is a responsibility and an ambition that everyone at HMD shares.

"Driven by the extremely positive reception we have received since HMD was announced earlier this year, we are excited about building the next chapter for Nokia phones. We see this as a brilliant opportunity to solve real life consumer problems and to deliver on the quality and designs that the Nokia brand has been always known for. 

“Our talented and passionate team is uniquely placed in this modern setup to deliver our promise of reliable, beautifully crafted and fun Nokia phones for consumers across the globe."

Nokia phones make up nine of the 10 best-selling mobile devices of all time, including the Nokia 1100, which tops the list having shifted more than 250 million units worldwide.

HMD Global’s leadership team, which was also announced, also includes Florian Seiche, who co-founded HTC’s branded smartphone business, and served as global director of Orange Deivces. He has been named president.

Former Nokia IMEA head of finance Anssi Rönnemaa has been named chief finance and commercial officer, while former Nokia SVP of marketing Pekka Rantala has been named CMO.