“It’s complicated” is the Facebook relationship status you share with your on-again, off-again ex. It also happens to be Nokia’s official statement on whether it will make smartphones again. Much like the regret you feel when you drunkenly text your former significant-other, Nokia is also dealing with its own unhealthy relationship.
And like all unhealthy relationships, Nokia doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing. Let’s take a peek into the drama-filled past.
Spring 2007: 50.3 per cent of all mobile phones are made by Nokia, back when smartphones were actually very dumb phones and didn’t know any better. Isn’t young love great?
Fall 2007 - Spring 2013: The Sad Years. Nokia and smartphones hold hands at the top of a burning oil derrick, and promise they’ll be together forever. They jump. They fall. So does Nokia’s marketshare.
April 2014: Smartphones have an affair. Microsoft double agent CEO Stephen Elop sells off the smartphone division to Microsoft.
November 2014: A bitter Nokia produces the N1 Android tablet, basically an iPad clone. Just a piece of arm candy to make smartphones jealous.
April 20, 2015: Recode says Nokia and smartphones are talking again and may have even had a face-to-face chat over coffee. Backsliding seems imminent in 2016.
April 26, 2015: Nokia releases the following statement saying Nokia and smartphones are actually just good friends:
Nokia notes recent news reports claiming the company communicated an intention to manufacture consumer handsets out of a R&D facility in China. These reports are false, and include comments incorrectly attributed to a Nokia Networks executive.
Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.
July 8, 2015: Microsoft writes off the entire Nokia affair as a $7.6-billion mistake. Look who’s eligible again!
July 13, 2015: Robert Morlino, a spokesperson for Nokia, officially updates Nokia’s smartphone relationship status to “it’s complicated”:
...the question comes up all the time: will Nokia return to mobile devices?
The answer is: it’s complicated.
Whew. I’ll say! It’s like school dating dramas all over again.
Basically, Nokia is back at square one. It’s making a wishy-washy statement that if the correct planets align [read: profit], it’ll toss a hat into the smartphone smackdown once again. Only this time most likely running Android. Like the so-so N1 tab before it, Nokia will probably team up with Foxconn or some equivalent manufacturing juggernaut to make its new phones. Which we can’t really expect to be exactly like Lumia on Android, since Microsoft still owns all that stuff. Who knows what we’ll actually get.
Heck, Android phones may not even be a good idea for Nokia. Still, come 2016, when Microsoft’s hold over Nokia’s smartphone-making abilities finally lapses, it seems pretty likely that Nokia will be “in a relationship” once again. [Nokia]