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A Timeline of Nokia's Bizarre and Sad Relationship with Smartphones

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Today Nokia’s smartphone relationship has gone from “it’s complicated” to “it’s official.” It’s the tail end of what has been nearly a decade of weirdness and back-and-forth contradictory statements. As just a small refresher, here’s a breakdown of the emotional rollercoaster that is Nokia and smartphones.

Spring 2007: 50.3 percent 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. 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 spokesman 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.

May 18, 2016: Nokia and smartphones finally make it official. Although after toxic one-again-off-again partnership, the newfound love is actually only skin deep. Instead of committing completely, Nokia will only lend its name while another company, named HMD, markets the new Android smartphones.


So yes, Nokia is returning to smartphones much in the same way X-Files returned to television. Yeah, Mulder and Scully are there, but it’s not quite the same thing. But it will be undeniably nostalgic to see the famous Finnish brand stamped on a smartphone again.

Editor’s Note: This story originally published in July 14, 2015. It’s been updated to reflect the most recent news.