The launch marks the first new smartphone carrying the iconic
handset name since 2014 when Nokia Oyj chose to sell its entire
handset unit to Microsoft .
The new device, Nokia 6, runs on Google's Android platform and
is manufactured by Foxconn. It will be sold exclusively in China
through online retailer JD.com, HMD said.
"The decision by HMD to launch its first Android smartphone into
China is a reflection of the desire to meet the real world needs
of consumers in different markets around the world... it is a
strategically important market," HMD said in a statement.
Nokia was once the world's dominant cellphone maker but missed
the shift to smartphones, and then chose Microsoft's Windows
operating system for its "Lumia" range.
After the 2014 deal, Microsoft continued selling cheaper basic
phones under Nokia's name and Lumia smartphones under its own
name, but last year, it largely abandoned both businesses.
HMD in December took over the Nokia feature phones business and
struck a licensing deal that gave it sole use of the Nokia brand
on all phones and tablets for the next decade.
It will pay Nokia royalties for the brand and patents, but Nokia
has no direct investment in HMD. Nokia Oyj is currently focused
on telecom network equipment business and technology patents.
HMD CEO Arto Nummela, who was once responsible for Nokia's sales
and product development, told Reuters last month that HMD aims
to be one of the key competitive players in the smartphone
business where it faces tough competition from Apple, Samsung
and dozens of other players.
HMD launched some new Nokia basic phones last month. It said on
Sunday it was looking to launch more new products in the first
half of the year.
(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl and Eric Auchard)
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