It's the end of an era. The one-time phone king Nokia is to concede its branding spot on the back of smartphones, with part-owners Microsoft slapping its own name onto the back of all forthcoming Lumia handsets.
“We want to simplify and unify our smartphone branding”, Microsoft phone unit marketing chief Tuula Rytila said in an interview. “We are really using Lumia as connective tissue.”
That's not to say that Nokia as a phone brand dies completely -- Microsoft will still be using the name on its "dumbphones" for the foreseeable, and has a licence to do so for the next ten years. By the end of a decade though, smartphones will probably look so drastically different as defining what isn't a smartphone is likely to prove problematic.
Naming problems aside, Microsoft still has the larger issue of boosting Lumia sales. While its latest earnings call show Lumia sales up slightly to 9.3 million compared to a year prior, a declining feature phone market (making up a good chunk of Microsoft's phone business) means it really needs to make more of a dent in the iOS and Android market shares. [Recode]