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Nokia still looking for way back into smartphone market

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Nokia

Nokia is still exploring ways to re-enter the smartphone market, but claims that it isn't in any rush to do so.

Back in 2013, Microsoft bought Nokia's mobile phone business for $7.2 billion, and eventually phased out the famous phone brand altogether.

Nokia lived on as a business, and last year became one of the biggest mobile network technology players in the game after acquiring Alcatel-Lucent. It also maintains a consumer technology department (check out its Ozo 360-degree camera), but it has been kept from issuing a new Nokia-branded phone by an agreement with Microsoft.

That agreement has now expired, but there's been no sign of a Nokia phone resurgence. Speaking at a recent Nokia press briefing ahead of MWC 2016, CEO Rajeev Suri revealed why.

While Suri accepted that there was a huge opportunity given the lingering affection for the Nokia brand, he indicated that the company was in no rush to launch a new phone. "It might happen in 2016 or it might be 2017," he said (via TechCrunch).

It seems Nokia is looking to find the right hardware partner for a relaunch. You see, Nokia won't be returning to the days of building its own mobile phones from scratch. Those days are over.

Rather, the next Nokia phone will essentially be a branding exercise - albeit a premium one that would potentially mix it with Apple and Samsung at the top of the market. "We are just basically licensing our brand," said Suri.

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However, Suri said that the company did want to be in a position "to design the devices in question with appropriate control measures should the partner not work to our standard."

It seems the kind of partner with the ability to produce high-end smartphones to an exacting specification, but one that's willing to hand over a considerable degree of design control and a healthy royalty cheque, is proving tricky to find. Foxconn was suggested - the Taiwanese manufacturer partnered with Nokia on the N1 tablet - but Suri wouldn't commit to the possibility.

Is there space in the market for a Nokia return? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

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