Just last week a number of job listings were posted by Nokia onto LinkedIn, hinting at the company’s plans to re-enter the hardware game in one capacity or the other, with a possible focus on Android. Some of the jobs in question included things like a patent coordinator, principal engineers, application engineers, and even a mobile photography engineer, with experience writing camera drivers for Android. At the time we held off reporting the listings, until we knew a bit more about what was going on.
Now thanks to Nokia’s Senior VP of Strategy, Sebastian Nyström, we can confirm that Nokia really is hiring for a “new products business”. Just to be clear, this Nokia has nothing to do with Microsoft and Nokia’s former hardware unit — renamed Microsoft Mobile. Instead, this is the remanents of Nokia, free and clear of Microsoft, and the same team that brought us the Z Launcher for Android.
Excitement about Nokia products in the blogosphere! We are indeed hiring for new products businesses. https://t.co/OjehqbuBuB
— Sebastian Nyström (@snystrom) August 2, 2014
So what do we actually know about this new products team that Nokia is putting together? From one of the job listings, we learn the following:
Nokia is establishing a new businesses built on Nokia innovation, focusing on physical and digital products and services for consumers directly or through other customer companies. We have already identified a number of product opportunities where we can make a difference in the market in areas aligned with our vision and where our brand makes a difference, and we continue to look for new opportunities where we can win.
What this doesn’t tell us is what kind of products Nokia is looking to put together. We do know that the deal Microsoft reached with Nokia before buying its hardware division has a few provisos regarding what Nokia can and can’t do with its own name. For example, Nokia can not actually use its brand name for its own phones until sometime in 2016 and it also can’t license out the name to anyone aside from Microsoft for at least 30 months after the close of the original MS/Nokia deal. We also know that Nokia still owns most of its patents, though it probably can’t use the same names for some of its features like PureView technology.
Nokia can not actually use its brand name for its own phones until sometime in 2016
Bottom-line, Nokia could very well lay the groundwork now for new phones, though it wouldn’t be able to release them until at least 2016. It’s also possible, and probably more likely, that the company will explore other products like wearables in the more immediate future. Either way, we wouldn’t be too surprised if Nokia ends up utilizing Android as the basis for some of these efforts. Does it mean we’ll someday see a Nokia smartphone that truly leaves up to flagship standards? Maybe, but we wouldn’t get our hopes up just yet.
The bigger takeaway is that Nokia as a devices maker might be a shadow of its former self, but the game isn’t necessarily over for good. What do you think, can Nokia — free of Microsoft’s direct influence — rebuild even a fraction of its former glory or has that ship sailed? Would you like to see new Nokia Android phones and wearables?