Gathering evidence anecdotally suggests Mobile World Congress 2017 will be Nokia’s choice of location for either the launch, or a really detailed look, at the new range of smartphones to wear its name. While the phones may be designed by Nokia, and have the famous brand stamped on the body, they will be built by HMD Global, a Finnish company that purchased Nokia’s mobile brand earlier this year, and Foxconn.
Mobile World Congress 2017 takes place from February 27 next year in Barcelona, Spain, and both Nokia and HMD Global have reserved space at the exhibition. Nokia has grabbed its preferred area in one of the main halls, but under the name of Nokia Solutions and Networks, where it has for the past few years mainly shown its infrastructure technology. However, it also demonstrated the Nokia N1 tablet on the stand back in 2015, proving it has been happy to combine branded products with its network tech in the past. HMD Global has secured space in a different area of the convention center, all of which are meeting rooms, apart from a single outdoor area.
Nokia’s CEO Rajeev Suri will deliver one of MWC 2017’s keynote speeches, something he has done previously, but these generally aren’t product announcements. Instead, the time is often spent examining the mobile industry, innovation, and its future. Given the following Nokia once had in the mobile industry, and the many fans waiting for its return, a separate press conference or event is likely to be announced for the phone’s actual launch.
While 2016 has been rumored as a possible launch time for HMD Global’s phones, a slide taken from a Nokia Technologies presentation states “Nokia brand’s return to smartphones,” as something scheduled for 2017. Mobile World Congress is the mobile industry’s largest annual event, and one which Nokia — either with Microsoft or without — has used to release new devices before. The evidence so far shows both Nokia and HMD Global have a strong presence at next year’s show, which in turn hints the new phones will be there too.