Almost three years after selling its phone business to Microsoft, Nokia has today marked the return of mobile devices to its website, promising new Android smartphones in the new year.
In 2013, Nokia announced the sale of its Devices and Services business to the US tech giant, amid continued struggles for its Windows phone efforts. That deal was finalized in early 2014, with Microsoft taking control of Nokia's smartphones, and its older feature phones. But Microsoft has since restructured its own mobile business, announcing the sale of the feature phone unit to Foxconn's FIH Mobile earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Nokia has never been able to keep itself away from the mobile market entirely; just a few months after it sold its phone business to Microsoft in 2014, it announced the launch of an Android tablet, built and supported by Foxconn, using the Nokia brand under license.
The first clear indication of Nokia's return to the smartphone business came in 2015, and earlier this year, its CEO confirmed those plans. In May, it formally announced a partnership with Finnish firm HMD Global, which will build new devices under the Nokia brand as part of a ten-year licensing deal.
Today, Nokia announced that its agreement with HMD has officially "come into force" - and now, mobile phones have returned to Nokia's website. However, you'll only find the existing range of Nokia feature phones - many of which were actually launched by Microsoft - on the site, for now.
Along with details of those devices, you can now find support information for each of them on Nokia.com too.
"Nokia branded feature phones remain one of the most popular choices of mobile phone in many markets around the world today," Nokia said today, "and HMD will continue to market them as part of an integrated portfolio, alongside a new range of smartphones and tablets to be announced later by HMD."
There are already hints of what's to come, though. Nokia's site promises "new smartphones coming in 2017", adding that it's "busy working on Nokia smartphones running Android".
Of course, they won't be the first Nokia phones to run Android - the company briefly experimented with selling devices running a forked version of Google's OS before its sale to Microsoft.
Fancy a trip down Memory Lane? Flash back with us to remember Nokia phones of days gone by:
- Flashback: Nokia 'ends the smartphone beta test' with the Lumia 900
- Flashback: The Lumia 1020 on its third birthday
- Flashback: Celebrating sweet-sixteen years of the Nokia 3310
And if you're interested in finding out more about what happened with Nokia's Windows phone efforts, be sure to check out our detailed feature article from earlier this year: