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Why Nokia making new Android phones isn’t as exciting as it sounds

OPINION Excited by the news that Nokia’s making phones again? Andy Vandervell sounds a word of caution.

Time to celebrate, Nokia is back!

Not so fast. Yes, it’s back in a manner of speaking. A new company has bought the rights to make smartphones and tablets using the Nokia brand name, and another has bought the ‘feature phone’ division from Microsoft, but this isn’t some glorious return.

Here’s what we know… A new company, HMD Global Oy, has bought the rights to use the Nokia name. It’s partnered with Foxconn – a huge Chinese company that manufactures the iPhone, among many other things – to develop, market and sell new Nokia products.

HMD has some pedigree in the shape of Arto Nummela, a current Microsoft exec and former Nokia man, as CEO, but this is still just a licensing agreement – a common way to squeeze more life out of storied and defunct brands.

We see this all the time – it’s why you see cheap-as-chips ‘Pioneer’ TVs that bear no resemblance to the brand’s previous glories.

Until proven otherwise, this deal has all the qualities of an opportunistic attempt to make some money out of a brand that has a history.

Related: Team Android: An alternative history of Nokia Lumia

The chances we’ll see phones with classic Nokia features, such as ‘PureView’ cameras, are slim to none.

More likely, we’ll see an affordable range of Android smartphones and tablets designed to undercut the established names.

Or, to put it another way, cheap Chinese phones bearing a name people recognise.

I’ll be delighted if I’m proved wrong, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

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