Nokia (not Microsoft) launches first Android-based tablet


Analyst lauds “audacious” move which will see Nokia brand remain in device business following OEM deal with unnamed manufacturer

Finnish manufacturer Nokia has launched its first Android tablet just seven months after it sold its mobile handset division to Microsoft.

The Nokia N1 means that the brand name will not disappear from the mobile landscape after Microsoft’s decision to drop it from its latest launch, the Lumia 535.

The brand name is being licensed to an unnamed OEM manufacturer who will be responsible for manufacturing, distribution and sales.

The device will feature a 7.9-inch display, a 2.4Ghz Intel Atom quad-core processor and will run on Android Lollipop, the latest version of the OS. It will be available in Lava Grey and Natural Aluminium.

Nokia has also developed a software system called the Z Launcher which will allow users to scribble letters on the interface allowing them to find content more quickly. This has also been licensed to its OEM partner.

IHS analyst Ian Fogg praised Nokia’s audacious launch but said there was no guarantee of success.

He said: “This is an audacious move by Nokia. There will be those at Microsoft who will be startled by the speed and audacity of Nokia’s strategy. They shouldn’t be: Nokia has a long history of bold strategic moves.

“This strategy goes far beyond a brand license play. Nokia intends for the resulting Nokia-brand devices to be indistinguishable from a Nokia-made device which means Nokia must ensure ongoing quality management of its partner(s) devices.

To deliver on this goal Nokia will license a package of assets, not only the Nokia brand name, to help with product differentiation. This includes extensive imaging intellectual property.

Nokia claims to own 1,200 standards essential patents, to have filed 914 patent families in 2013, and for 75 percent of the total patents it holds to have been created by teams still at Nokia.

The device will launch in China in Q1 2015, priced at around £159 before taxes. There has been no announcement on UK pricing or availability.