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Nokia making a comeback in early 2017; Entry-level smartphones inbound, flagship device next to release?

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After announcing its plans to return to phones and tablets last May, Nokia will formally announce its return to the smartphone market next year.

According to the Finnish company’s official site, they recently formalized a licensing agreement with HMD Global. Also based in Finland, HMD Global was set up by former Nokia employees. It is the new home of Nokia devices under a brand licensing deal that will last for at least 10 years.

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HMD Global took over the Nokia phone business from Microsoft on Thursday after the release of the business in May. The company has a licensing agreement with Nokia giving it sole use of the brand on tablets and smartphones. It will pay Nokia royalties for the patents and brand, but Nokia has no direct investment in HMD Global. It also struck partnerships with device manufacturer Foxconn and plans to launch smartphones in the early part of 2017.

According to The Verge, Nokia launched a new phones section on its site today. This marks the return of Nokia-branded tablets and smartphones after Microsoft acquired its phone business. The first Nokia-branded smartphones powered by Android will go public in the first half of 2017. It will be available alongside Nokia-branded feature phones.

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HMD Global hopes to bank on Nokia’s nostalgia in an effort to challenge the players of the highly competitive smartphone market. Currently, Samsung and Apple, as well as Chinese brands such as Huawei, dominate the smartphone industry.

That road will be tough for a starting company, but brand power might be an edge against smaller players.

“For a new entrant, having an established brand provides it with an instant on-ramp.” Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight, said, per The Guardian. “The barriers to entry for the Android phone space are low. What HMD has is the Nokia brand and management experience. The key to its success will be the driving scale,” he added.

Photo Courtesy: Kiwi/Flickr

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