Nokia not planning smartphone return

Nokia shot down reports it is gearing up to launch a new range of Android smartphones in 2016 in an official statement released in response to feverish speculation that the world's former number one device maker is set to re-enter the market.

The Finnish company released the brief statement on Apr. 26, two days after multiple reports claimed it was gearing up to produce a new range of smartphones at an R&D facility in China. While the International Business Times and other newspapers cited Mike Wang, president of Nokia China, as the source of the smartphone information, the company said the articles are inaccurate.

"Nokia notes recent news reports claiming the company communicated an intention to manufacture consumer handsets out of a R&D facility in China. These reports are false, and include comments incorrectly attributed to a Nokia Networks executive," the company stated, before concluding: "Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets."

Speculation that the world's former dominant mobile phone maker could re-enter the sector sprang up almost as soon as the company announced plans to sell its ailing device division to Microsoft in 2013.

The deal included non-compete clauses for smartphones and feature phones that would bar Nokia returning to those markets until the close of 2015, Reuters noted. That date lent credence to the claims the company would return from 2016 onwards.

Nokia stoked the rumour mill when it released its N1 tablet. The company handled all industrial design for the Android-based device before licensing it to Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, which will manufacture the unit and sell it under a brand name of its choosing.

The smartphone speculation follows reports Nokia is negotiating a sale of its HERE mapping business to one of four potential bidders for around €2 billion ($2.1 billion). The company recently confirmed it has initiated a review of strategic options for its HERE unit alongside plans to merge its Networks business with Alcatel-Lucent in a €15.6 billion deal.

For more:
- see Nokia's statement
- read this International Business Times smartphone report
- view this Reuters article

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