In 2014, Nokia entered into an agreement with Microsoft in which it made a commitment not to manufacture any mobile phones until Q4 of 2016. In the meantime, Nokia indulged itself in designing the hardware and then selling the license out instead of manufacturing the phones. Having been effectively implemented with the N1 tablet, the strategy will continue to be implemented for mobile phones and tablets until the agreement with Microsoft runs out.
Windows 10 & Android M versions of Nokia C1 smartphones on the cards, say leaks
Late last year, Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri expressed the company's desire to get back in the mobile phone business. A company spokesman then said that Nokia will focus on developing new technologies and design for other firms to implement.
In November last year, a leaked image revealed C1, a smartphone that Nokia was rumoured to be working on. Various leaks pointed towards the C1 featuring a 5-inch Full HD display, 8MP and 5MP cameras, an Intel processor, a 2GB RAM and separate Android and Windows 10 variants.
Nokia C1 was also rumoured to release in White, Gold, Pink and Grey colours by Q4 of 2016 when the ongoing embargo on smartphone manufacturing ends.
In January, GSM Arena caught hold of some leaked images of Nokia's upcoming smartphone on a Chinese social media website named Weibo. The images looked very similar to the earlier images of the C1 and now lend more credibility to the rumour.
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri hinted on Nokia's re-entry in the smartphone market after it sold the Lumia business to Microsoft.
"We almost owe it to ourselves to go experiment in the consumer area. If and when we find a world-class partner who can take on those responsibilities, we would work closely with them to guide the design and technology differentiation as we did with the Nokia N1 Android tablet," said Rajeev Suri.
Nokia keeping fingers crossed for ticket to smartphone party
"There's no rush, there's no timeline. It could happen in 2016, it could happen later. We don't want to just put logos on somebody's devices. It needs to feel like Nokia, what Nokia was known for," he added.
With Suri more or less confirming that a Nokia smartphone later this year is on the cards, we expect to hear more about the upcoming phone in the coming days.
Nokia's smartphone manufacturing embargo will end soon and it would be fair to assume that if Nokia is indeed launching a new phone, it wouldn't prefer to wait any longer than the end of this year.
As for the C1, if the available leaks are indeed true, the phone seems like a mid-range device on the likes of existing Lumia devices that sold in the region of £200 to £250. However, we will prefer to wait for more information to come in before speculating on the C1's pricing.