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Nokia wants to make smartphones in 2016, but ‘it’s complicated’

Nokia has confirmed that it’s considering a return to the smartphone market, but it might not be as simple as just launching a new handset.

Speculation has been rampant regarding a new Nokia phone ever since Microsoft bought up the company’s Devices & Services business back in April 2014.

Nokia has now issued a statement in response to the speculation, revealing that there’s definitely a chance we could see the Nokia branding on devices once again.

“It’s not surprising that today, the question comes up all the time: will Nokia return to mobile devices? The answer is: it’s complicated,” explained Robert Morlino, Nokia spokesperson, in the statement.

That’s because when Nokia sold its mobile division to Microsoft, it lost all of the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution capabilities that you need to make and sell phones.

As such, the company can now only rely on designing and innovating in the mobile space, with third-parties handling the rest.

“The right path back to mobile phones for Nokia is through a brand-licensing model,” says Morlino. “That means identifying a partner that can be responsible for all of the manufacturing, sales, marketing, and customer support for a product.”

This means that rather than Nokia peddling its own smartphones, it will outsource manufacturing to a different company that will pay to use Nokia branding.

Related: Best Smartphones 2015

Morlino continues: “If and when we find a world-class partner who can take on those responsibilities, we would work closely with them to guide the design and technology differentiation, as we did with the Nokia N1 Android tablet.”

He adds: “That’s the only way the bar would be met for a mobile device we’d be proud to have bear the Nokia brand, and that people will love to buy.”

Unfortunately, Nokia can’t actually start flogging smartphones again until at least Q4 2016, as per the deal with Microsoft.

That does, however, give the company plenty of time to source what it describes as “the right partner” to take on the “heavy lifting”.

Can’t wait until 2016 for your next smartphone? Then you should check out our group test video for something a little more tangible:

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