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Nokia may return with a new phone next year

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It’s been nearly a year since Microsoft acquired Nokia’s phone business, and rumors suggest the Finnish company may be plotting a return to selling phones. Recode reports that Nokia is planning to return to the consumer mobile market as early as next year, citing two sources briefed on Nokia’s plans. It’s not clear exactly how Nokia plans to return, but the company is currently restricted from using the Nokia brand on phones until Q4, 2016. That restriction didn’t stop Nokia from launching an iPad mini clone running Android software, but it does mean the company has to wait a little longer until it returns to phones.

Nokia also working on a VR project

Microsoft is currently moving away from using the Nokia brand on its range of Lumia devices, but the company does continue to use it for feature phones. Any potential Nokia phone will likely launch in a similar way to the N1 Android tablet, allowing Nokia to partner with a manufacturer and simply brand the hardware. It’s a strategy that’s very similar to Polaroid, and Nokia previously revealed it would license its brand, allowing third-party manufacturers to create products and devices that use the Nokia moniker. Nokia Technologies, a research and incubation team, is allegedly working on the company’s phone plans. The same team helped bring the Nokia N1 Android tablet to life. Recode’s report also claims Nokia has a project related to virtual reality, but there are little details on the company’s plans to compete with Samsung, Facebook, and others.

Rumors of a Nokia return to phones come just days after the company announced its intention to acquire telecoms equipment company Alcatel-Lucent for €15.6 billion ($16.6 billion). The deal will further strengthen Nokia's ambitions to compete with Ericsson and provide networking equipment to businesses. Nokia is also reviewing its Here mapping business and may consider selling it off.