Nokia is set to re-enter the mobile devices market in the first quarter of 2015 with a new tablet PC running the Android operating system.
Nokia's N1 tablet
As predicted by FierceWireless:Europe/TelecomsEMEA.net over a year ago, the Finnish company's $7.2 billion (€5.7 billion) deal to sell its loss-making mobile devices division to Microsoft contained no clauses to prevent Nokia re-entering the mobile devices market after the sale concluded. However, the move does not mean Nokia is becoming a manufacturer of devices again, instead producing the industrial design for the device and outsourcing manufacture.
Perhaps the only surprise, then, is that the company is choosing to keep the 'Nokia' brand on its new N1 tablet. The brand has lost its lustre in recent years, falling down the rankings in listings produced by brand value measurement company Brand Finance. In 2008, 'Nokia' ranked in ninth place in the company's list of the world's top 500 brands by value. By 2013, Nokia had fallen to 388th place, and in 2014 does not figure in the top 500 at all.
However, a recent decision by Microsoft to drop the Nokia moniker from its latest line of Lumia smartphones may have cleared the way for the Finnish company to reclaim its original devices brand.
Sebastian Nyström, head of products at Nokia Technologies, said the company is "pleased to bring the Nokia brand back into consumers' hands with the N1 tablet." Nokia is pitching the device at its existing "fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet," Nyström added.
The 6.9-mm thick tablet features a 7.9-inch display and 2.4GHz Intel Atom quad-core processor, and Nokia's Z Launcher service, which enables users to find applications by writing in the first few letters of its name. Nokia said Z Launcher will also learn which applications consumers use the most, and position those front and centre at the appropriate time of day.
Nokia plans to license the Z Launcher technology alongside the industrial design of the N1 and associated intellectual property.
The N1 is set to hit stores in China first, followed by other--as yet unspecified--markets. Nokia has priced the device at $249 excluding taxes.
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