Forget that Android-powered handset, Nokia isn’t planning to return to mobile handset business
Earlier this month, a Chinese publication reported that Nokia, the part that Microsoft didn’t acquire in its multi-billion dollar deal, is working on a comeback to mobile handset business. The report further noted that people from Nokia’s N9 design team were developing an Android-powered handset, which the company plans to launch in 2016.
It seemed like a perfect plan for the return of once a market leader, except that the company doesn’t actually want to get back in that business. At an analyst meeting, Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri squashed such rumors and announced that the company isn’t planning a return to direct consumer business.
In a speech aimed at investors, Suri detailed where the company is moving and the future plans it has. Nokia is still a leader in the mapping, network, and advanced technologies space, and that’s where it wants to put all its energy in. “We are not looking to a direct consumer return to handsets per se,” (but the Nokia) “brand will return to the consumer world” in other ways. “The Nokia brand is still extremely powerful and we see considerable interest in licensing. We will pursue it… in a thoughtful and considered way,” said Suri.
The company is interested in the development of the Internet of Things technology, which by several predictions will reach 50 billion connected objects by 2025. This would increase demands for network equipment and technologies, the two spaces where Nokia is a market leader. “We are exploring big opportunities in the Internet of Things, which could include analytics and machine-to-machine connectivity platforms,” Suri said.
Nokia also has a rich collection of patents that it could license to partners such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon. The company has been investing billions of dollars in the R&D for advancement in technologies. Suri, however, is too cautious about the right time for the licensing deals. Additionally, the company is also considering partnering with mid and low-tier mobile manufacturers for possible exploration.
Nokia recently launched the Here maps on Android platform. The service was previously exclusively available on Microsoft’s mobile operating system Windows Phone. Nokia has also announced that it would re-launch Here maps to the iOS operating system. The company had launched its mapping service on iOS a couple of years ago, but Apple had pulled all the other mapping apps shortly before it launched its own mapping service Apple Maps. The service was highly inaccurate and was in no position to compete with Google’s Maps and Nokia’s Here applications. Apple then announced that it would accept other mapping services on its mobile platform.
Earlier this year, Nokia released the beta version of Z Launcher, an alternate home screen for Android. The app was downloaded half a million times within few hours of its launch. The company announced that it would launch a full-fledged version of the app soon.Further reading: Android, Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, Nokia X, Rajeev Suri, Windows Phone, Z Launcher