Espoo, Finland — Nokia reentered the CE market, although indirectly, with an Android tablet following the sale this year of its mobile business to Microsoft.
The company, which previously sold Windows Phone smartphones and a Windows RT tablet, unveiled its first Android tablet, a 7.9-inch Android 5.0 Lollipop model that will be manufactured, marketed, distributed and sold by an OEM partner through a brand-licensing agreement. It will be available in the first quarter at an estimated $249 in China before rolling out to other unnamed markets.
Nokia and Microsoft had been joined since 2011 in a strategic partnership to promote Microsoft’s smartphone OS and help Nokia rebuild its cellphone market share. This year, Microsoft bought Nokia’s mobile business and plans to keep the Nokia name on feature phones sold outside the U.S. and gradually replace the Nokia name on Lumia smartphones.
In addition to licensing the Nokia brand, Nokia is licensing the industrial design, Z Launcher user interface, and IP on a running royalty basis to the OEM partner, which is responsible for “full business execution, from engineering and sales to customer care, including liabilities and warranty costs, inbound IP and software licensing and contractual agreements with third parties,” Nokia said.
The N1’s industrial design and Z Launcher application were developed by Nokia.
Z Launcher lets users scribble a letter or two to quickly find content. Over time, Z Launcher is said to learn what applications are in use and predict and highlight the applications consumers are expected to want based on time of day and location.
The industrial design features a one-piece aluminum design with a soft finish in both gray and natural aluminum colors. The tablet is 6.9mm thick and has a 2.4Ghz Intel Atom quad-core processor.
Media reports indicate Foxconn is the OEM manufacturer.