Nokia has been through the wash a bit recently, with Microsoft buying its phone business and Chinese companies using the Nokia name to sell devices by. The Finnish company announced a return to the tablet market in May, and now it is announcing it will return to smartphones in 2017, along with manufacturing partner HMD Global.
A new section devoted to phones has appeared on Nokia's website - you'll see that the website is operated by 'HMD Global Oy,' which is now the exclusive licensee of the Nokia brand. HMD Global is also Finnish, so the company remains in Finland, although it's not clear if the devices themselves will be manufactured in Finland. Read More
Nokia is a name that will never die in the mobile industry. After being acquired by Microsoft last year, the Nokia brand has been knocking about in Redmond, with the feature phone business being put into 'maintenance mode,' the Lumia name being converted to Microsoft Lumia, and the Nokia N1 tablet being produced under license. Now, the entire brand has been sold off to HMD global Oy, a new company formed specifically to buy the naming rights, until 2024.
According to the press release, "HMD has been founded to provide a focused, independent home for a full range of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets." Note that this does not mean Nokia, as in the company based in Helsinki, Finland, is coming back and producing phones again, although HMD is headquartered in Helsinki. Read More
Ever since it sold off its mobile business to Microsoft and its mapping entity to a consortium of German carmakers, Nokia has been struggling to find its identity and reinvent itself amidst a changing and challenging ecosystem. Its network arm is still going strong, but the brand has lost much of, if not all of its halo when it comes to consumer-facing technologies.
Now Nokia might be looking at a new direction and an interesting way to sneak back into the market, as a digital health provider. It announced today that it wants to acquire Withings, a French company that specializes in Internet of Things products and connected health gadgets. Read More
Another one bites the dust. MixRadio, we hardly knew ya on Android. The service, which started as Nokia's Comes With Music in 2007 then was renamed to Nokia MixRadio and just MixRadio after Microsoft's acquisition, was later bought by LINE in March of 2015. After that, it went through a wide expansion, launching Android and iOS apps in May, joining the Apple Watch, Amazon, and Tizen platforms, and even starting web clients for Windows and Mac. It looked like things were going well for MixRadio, especially with its growing popularity in India and Indonesia, and over 5M installs on the Play Store. Read More
Nokia's Z Launcher is a bit different. Instead of a customizable homescreen where you place your app icons, it chooses them based on the ones you often open and you're most likely to need right now. Essentially, it adapts to your context. It has a few more tricks too, like scribbling the names of apps, contacts, and websites to launch them directly. In its new update, this scribble function is about to get a little more powerful.
Scribbling now supports synonyms, so you can launch music apps by simply writing music. Spotify, Pandora, and even YouTube should appear in the list of options. Read More
Nokia has hinted at a sale of its HERE mapping and location unit since April, when it announced its merger with Alcatel-Lucent and a strategic review of HERE. The rumors at the time pegged Uber and unnamed German carmakers to be interested in the acquisition, then were more substantiated last month when Bloomberg revealed that the trio of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz were the most likely candidates. Read More
Nokia, in their continuing withdrawal from the mobile phone and software industry, appears close to selling off their best remaining asset in that market: HERE Maps. According to a report by Bloomberg, Nokia will sell their mapping technology and know-how to Germany's three biggest automakers, BMW, Audi (owned by Volkswagen), and Mercedes-Benz. Though they typically compete against one another, each shares common concerns about Google's market position and privacy policies.
The report estimates the asking price of HERE to be nearing $4 billion USD, though the final offer may be closer to $2.5 billion. While that sounds like a big number, HERE is a product of Nokia's acquisition of NAVTEQ for $8.1 billion in 2008. Read More
Android users in general like widgets. Android "advocates" (which I suppose includes all of us here at Android Police) remember when it was one of the biggest differentiators between Google's mobile operating system and iOS, back when people were trying to convince us that we didn't really need copy and paste support. So when Nokia's Z Launcher homescreen replacement app launched without widgets, a considerable number of users couldn't switch over because of this lack.
Now the developers have alleviated this problem, so it's a good time to give Z Launcher another chance. Version 1.2 adds basic widget support: swipe to the blank screen on the left side of the main launcher and long-press to add them. Read More
Shortly after confirming the rumors of its talks with Alcatel-Lucent yesterday, Nokia has announced today that it does indeed intend to buy the French firm. The deal would combine both European companies' assets under the Nokia Corporation name, with headquarters in Helsinki and a strong presence in France. No cash transactions would be involved, instead the acquisition is a public exchange offer whereby 0.55 Nokia shares are offered for every Alcatel-Lucent share. The valued total amounts to 15,6 Billion Euros.
The merger has been approved by both companies' boards of directors and should be closed by 2016 if it gets the regulatory go-ahead. Once done, current Alcatel-Lucent shareholders would own 33.5% of the combined company and Nokia shareholders the remaining 66.5%. Read More
Just yesterday, HERE Beta sent out an update with a few minor improvements. Today, they came out like gangbusters by dropping the beta label and adding some serious polish to the app. This navigation app, perhaps the most serious challenger to Google Maps, is developed by once-ubiquitous OEM Nokia. Now, they think they are ready for showtime.
It's really a quite nice looking app and has become popular for its solid international support. Another differentiating feature is how easy it makes offline use, which is still a pain on Google Maps.
Here are the changes since the last beta update:
- New, interactive 3D maps of shopping centers and airports in 70 countries
- The route planner shows driving, public transit and walking routes on one screen so you can compare options at a glance
- You can now tap on any place icon on the map to find out more about it and how to get there
- Traffic incidents show you what's causing jams before you have to find out first-hand
- You can now download maps in the background — no need to wait around for them to finish
- You can also download voices to your SD card
- Turn-by-turn voice-guidance volume has been adjusted, so you can hear directions more clearly
- You can now use HERE on devices with 64-bit processors
The 3D maps seem really cool, but time will tell if there are enough that you'll make use of them. Read More