There was a time when all anyone wanted was a stock Android phone built by the hardware wizards at Nokia. Unfortunately, we never got it because Nokia's execs at the time felt like adopting Android would be a short-term solution akin to pissing in your pants for some temporary warmth in the winter. Instead we got the great Elopcalypse.
But in 2017 the dream will finally come true. Sort of.
A Nokia phone running Android is on the way but it won't be designed in the city of Espoo, nor will it be built by the hardworking Finns in Salo. Instead the Nokia brand will be slapped onto an Android phone built by FIH Mobile (a subsidiary of Foxconn) under contract with HMD Global Oy, a new company led by a former Nokia executive that recently obtained exclusive branding rights to sell, market, and distribute Nokia phones and tablets for the coming 10 years.
Of course, we've seen these kinds of branding deals in the past resulting in a 4k TV from "Polaroid" and a smartphone built by "Commodore," for example. The difference this time, however, is that Nokia is still very much alive and kicking primarily as a networking company, and use of its brand for mobile devices comes with strings attached. Here's how the deal was announced in May (emphasis mine):
Nokia Technologies will take a seat on the Board of Directors of HMD and set mandatory brand requirements and performance related provisions to ensure that all Nokia-branded products exemplify consumer expectations of Nokia devices, including quality, design and consumer focused innovation.
Yesterday, HMD CEO Arto Nummela, a Nokia veteran who was previously in charge of Microsoft's mobile device sales in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, echoed similar sentiments on a phone call with Bloomberg:
"We will be extremely true to the Nokia brand," said Nummela. "The Nokia brand is known for simplicity, ease of use, reliability and quality. These are the elements that we will deliver together with amazing industrial design."
So, what do you think, dear reader? Will the deal produce the ultimate Android phone we always wanted from Nokia or will this be another example of a great brand getting milked to death in order to sell lackluster crap?