2017 Nokia-branded smartphones to run near-stock Android?

2017 Nokia-branded smartphones to run near-stock Android?

The Nokia name will be making its grand comeback to the smartphone market very soon. HMD Global, the Finnish company that licensed the brand from Microsoft, will be bringing a host of feature phones and smartphones bearing the legendary Nokia name next year. The company is helmed by Nokia veteran Arto Numella, who originally joined Nokia back in 1994, and will be aiming for a spot as “one of the key competitive players in the smartphone business,” Numella claims.

It's no secret that these Nokia-branded devices will run Android, but up until now we had no idea whether that would be a heavily-modified proprietary skin, in the vein of Samsung's TouchWiz, HTC's Sense, and others, or kept closer to stock Android. The latter approach has been taken by Motorola, whose phones run a lightweight version of Google's mobile OS with a handful of custom tweaks on top, and has proven as a viable approach preferred by many.

Do any of you remember this addictive gem from back in the day? Who wants to see it remade next year? Yeah, Snake too, we guess...

Do any of you remember this addictive gem from back in the day? Who wants to see it remade next year? Yeah, Snake too, we guess...

In a recent interview, Numella told Reuters that HMD has struck a partnership of some sort with Google, though the details of it remain unclear. The same report also claims that “HMD is building its smartphone operating system in partnership with Google.” It is unclear what this entails exactly, but it could mean that HMD may have reached out to Google for input on the software front. High-spec'd Nokia-branded smartphones that run largely bloat-free Android? Sign us up! However, at this point, this is in the realm of speculation. If Google has had any direct and involved input in the software development for the new devices, then the suggestion above wouldn't be out of the question, but Numella's wording at this stage is unsurprisingly vague and might mean something else entirely.

Another interesting tidbit of information comes from a Bloomberg report on Nokia's return:

“We will be extremely true to the Nokia brand,” Nummela told Bloomberg. “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.”

If Numella's words are anything to go by, then the upcoming smartphones will very likely run a largely bloat-free version of Android, even if it doesnt quite constitute as “near-stock”.

The Nokia name carries a heavy burden of legacy and HMD seems to be aware of this. Nokia phones used to be lauded for their excellent cameras, long battery life, memorable and enduring designs, and overall great reliability. We can only hope the Finnish startup manages to successfully bring all these qualities to its first smartphones. We also wouldn't turn back sequels to the classic Snake and the largely forgotten (but absolutely amazing) Space Impact! Make it happen!

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23 Comments

1. ADITYA1994

Posts: 10; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

Great news thank u phonearena for this valuable info

2. nokia12

Posts: 610; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

Well that was expected already ... Nokia N1 tablet did the same .. Mostly Stock android with Z launcher added on..

3. Tech-shake

Posts: 195; Member since: Nov 14, 2016

The new Nokia devices are shaping up to be great!

21. King_bilo

Posts: 115; Member since: May 20, 2015

we havent heard anything yet except stock android. We don't even know the literal "shape" of the device

4. Kumar123 unregistered

Bring it on. We need Nokia.

14. Sidewinder

Posts: 515; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

The brand name itself brings back memories. My first ever smartphone was a Nokia. And I'm proud to say that I still have the dream phone of every geek - the Nokia n900 safely kept in my book shelf.

5. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

near stock... a good way to reduce cost on software development, nice choice,,,,

6. avishekmukherjee

Posts: 362; Member since: Apr 09, 2015

Waiting for Nokia

7. palmguy

Posts: 949; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

I'll toss my Moto X for a nice, durable, great camera Nokia.

8. Tuxedo

Posts: 356; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

You got my attention... make it happen!!

9. meanestgenius

Posts: 20999; Member since: May 28, 2014

I'm extremely eager to see the HMD/Nokia Android handsets. If the design and quality is near/on par with the Nokia designs of old, with near stock Android, take my money!

10. wickiraman

Posts: 7; Member since: Oct 03, 2016

Appreciated

11. Bernoulli

Posts: 4358; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

I wonder what the new norm of snapchat will be, when you're snapping out of a pureview lens.

12. Ticklemyfancy

Posts: 214; Member since: Oct 09, 2016

We'll see when the reviews come out.

13. SailfishOS

Posts: 108; Member since: Nov 06, 2016

I'm waiting!!

15. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

Bane of Moto, noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

16. cdgoin

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 28, 2010

Heard a rumor they will be running the Microsoft arrow launcher stock and preloaded with the MS app suite..

17. chenski

Posts: 726; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

I will definitely consider buying

18. S4NDY

Posts: 193; Member since: Mar 14, 2016

R.I.P Nexus Say hello to Nokia, New leader of stock Android

19. abhinav.snsahu

Posts: 22; Member since: Dec 08, 2015

Really looking forward for Nokia branded device, My S5 is nearly one and half year old now it would be great to have Nokia as an option to replace it

20. RAV4CAD

Posts: 96; Member since: May 03, 2016

Welcome Nokia to the Android world.

23. Riderocket

Posts: 17; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

Imagine a lumia 920 running stock android, with Z launcher.

24. strikerchooooo unregistered

Nokia and Windows was not the best combination, but Nokia and Handroid would be a disaster. Just like ANY OEM, except Samesunk.

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