Nov 19, 2014

    Foxconn to make and sell Nokia tablet


    FINLAND'S Nokia announced yesterday a brand-licensed tablet computer which runs on Google's Android platform, just six months after the company sold its ailing phones and devices business to Microsoft.

    Nokia said the manufacturing, distribution and sales of the N1 tablet will be handled by Taiwan's Foxconn. Nokia is licensing the brand, industrial design, Z Launcher software and intellectual property to Foxconn.

    Sebastian Nystrom, the head of products at Nokia's Technologies unit, said the company was looking to follow up with more devices in the future.

    The tablet, which sports Nokia's own interface, will be in stores in China in the first quarter of next year for an estimated price of US$249 (S$323), with sales to expand to other markets after that.

    After the 5.6-billion euro (S$9.1-billion) deal with Microsoft, Nokia was left with its network equipment and services business, plus its smaller mapping and navigation business and Technologies unit, which manages licensing payments on its patents and conducts research and development.

    The tablet is the latest twist in 149-year-old Nokia's history which includes transformations from one industry to another.

    Last week, chief executive Rajeev Suri said the company was looking into ways to bring its brand back into the consumer market through licensing deals with electronic product makers.

    Nokia shares rose 1.5 per cent to 6.31 euros in Helsinki.

    The N1 has a 7.9-inch screen and aluminium body. It includes an Intel processor and the Lollipop version of the Android operating system. On top of that, it runs Nokia's Z Launcher interface software, which predicts and highlights the apps consumers are likely to want based on time of day and location.

    When agreeing to sell its phone unit to Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, Nokia said that it would be restricted from licensing its brand for use in connection with mobile-device sales for 30 months and from using the Nokia brand on Nokia's own mobile devices until the end of next year.

    A Microsoft representative in London did not comment on the news.