Newkia to go Android route with former Nokia employees and know-how

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With the news that Microsoft acquired Nokia’s Devices & Services division earlier this week, not all of the 32,000 employees expected to join Microsoft may actually want to do so. In fact, the same day that Microsoft announced its acquisition, former employee, Thomas Zilliacus, who once led the group’s Asia-Pacific team, formed a new company called Newkia. Its objective is to combine Nokia’s famed hardware design with Android as the operating system.

Thomas Zilliacus from Newkia

Needless to say, Zilliacus was not impressed with Nokia’s decision to go with Windows Phone back in 2011. “The deal reflects the complete failure of the Windows strategy Stephen Elop chose when he was appointed Nokia CEO some two years ago. Nokia, which only three years ago was the world’s runaway market leader in mobile phones, is today a small and insignificant brand,” he told ZDNet in an interview.

Zilliacus has already begun to hire former Nokia employees and is hoping to attract more of them to build up a company that much like Nokia used to do, would design and manufacture its own smartphones. The key difference would be that the new devices would use Android rather than Windows Phone. “I know Nokia employees who are keen to develop for Android and maybe would like to join us,” he said. “I strongly believe Nokia still has the best know-how in terms of mobile phones and we want to get the best people to join us.”

While Newkia will be based in Singapore, it is planning to have its main research and development located in Finland. The move makes sense if it aims to attract former Nokia talent.

Newkia is looking to release its first handset within a year. Much will depend on how quickly the company can raise the necessary funds and get rolling. Zilliacus points out that “the world has changed a great deal in the last few years in the manufacturing and distribution of mobile phones” and points to China’s Xiaomi as an example. The company is only two years old and is already worth US$10 billion.

It may be a while before we see a Newkia phone in North America though as the company will initially limit its market to Asia.

Let us know if the prospect of a Nokia-like smartphone powered by Google Android is something that you would be interested in.

Source : ZDNet

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