It was reported a couple of months back that Nokia could make a return to the smartphone market in 2016 when an agreement with Microsoft clears up any legal hurdles in the way, and now there’s confirmation from the company itself that that’s exactly what it plans on doing. Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri confirmed to Germany’s Manager Magazin that Nokia is going to start designing and licensing smartphones from next year.

Many of you will be aware that Nokia sold off its ailing hardware business to Microsoft last year and since then the company has focused entirely on its mapping and network equipment business.

There were rumors though that Nokia could return to the smartphone market once it cleared up any legal formalities with Microsoft, and since the company retains its globally recognized brand name, it’s return wouldn’t prove to be all that difficult.

In an interview published today Suri said that the company is going to look for suitable partners next year and then it will simply design them and make its iconic brand name available to license.

Basically this means that Nokia itself won’t be selling handsets, it will design them and let others use its brand name for a fee. It has already done this with a new tablet that was manufactured under license by Foxconn but sold with Nokia branding.

No word as yet on the partners that may align with Nokia on this.

Filed in Cellphones. Read more about and .

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