By Stephen McBride
Finnish firm unveils Android-based N1, just six months after selling devices unit to Microsoft
Nokia, which earlier this year sold its hardware business to Microsoft, yesterday launched a mini tablet, online media reported.
The N1 is to be built by Taiwan's Foxconn, which also assembles iPhones. It comes wrapped in aluminium chassis, has a 7.9-inch display and runs Android 5.0 (Lollipop) with Nokia's own Z Launcher as a UI.
Nokia hopes to launch the tablet in China for around $250 before 19 February 2015, which is Chinese New Year. Release dates and prices for other markets were not available at time of launch.
Under its agreement with Microsoft, Nokia is not allowed to compete in the smartphone space until 2016. Microsoft is licensed to use the Nokia brand for 10 years, but while the Redmond firm has opted to continue doing so on feature phones, it has launched three Lumia smartphones in recent weeks as Microsoft Lumias, dropping the Finnish company's label from high-end products.
Sebastian Nystrom, head of products at Nokia's Technologies unit, pledged subsequent device launches, including a return to the smartphone sector through brand-licensing.
"With the agreement with Microsoft, as is customary, we have this transition and we can't do smartphones," Reuters quoted Nystrom as saying. "We have a time limit. In 2016 we can again enter that business. It would be crazy not to look at that opportunity. Of course we will look at it."