Despite the fact that Nokia hasn't really been an active smartphone manufacturer for the past few years, the Nokia brand has remained one of the most popular names in the mobile world, mostly due to the company's legacy with feature phones rather than its impact on the smartphone market. In any case, many smartphone users have been looking forward to Nokia making a comeback, and numerous Nokia fans have been rooting for an Android-powered smartphone for a few years now, with plenty of leaks and rumors keeping the fire burning. But according to recent reports, the wait is nearly over as new "confirmation" from a Microsoft executive suggests that at least two new Android-powered Nokia smartphones are planned for a market release in the second quarter of 2017.
Now, let's take a step back and look at the bigger picture for a moment, as some readers might wonder what Microsoft has to do with Nokia in the first place, or how is Nokia going to release Android-powered devices under Microsoft's umbrella. Well, long story short, Nokia's mobile business is no longer owned by Microsoft since May 2016, but to look back even further in time, the Finnish company's smartphone branch was acquired by Microsoft in the year 2013 and the acquisition was finalized in 2014. However the Nokia and Lumia brands haven't really thrived in Microsoft's Windows Phone ecosystem and in May 2016 the Redmond-based giant sold the Nokia brand to another Finnish company going by the name of HMD Global, co-founded by former Nokia executives Florian Seiche and Arto Nummela. Fast forward to the present time and according to a report passed along by tech blog Nokia Power User, at least two Nokia smartphones are now in the works for the second quarter of 2017, with a couple of other devices planned for a market release before the end of 2016. Citing the CEO of mobile device commodities of Microsoft Asia – Pacific, James Rutherfoord "HMD Global (the owner of Nokia commercial rights for 10 years) planned to launch two new products in the fourth quarter 2016 and at least two smartphones in the early second quarter 2017."
According to previous reports, the smartphones aimed for a market release in 2017 will be powered by Android, presumably featuring Nokia's Z Launcher on top. The same goes for the alleged upcoming devices for the fourth quarter of 2016, which have been rumored to accommodate 2K displays in metallic housings. In any case, HDM Global can build Nokia smartphones using the company's patents under strict licensing and following Nokia's design and hardware guidelines, but it remains to be seen if the timeframes above will stick.