Nokia Returns With China-Exclusive Android Smartphone

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Nokia's triumphant return to the handset market begins in China, where its first Android smartphone from new owner HMD Global launches soon.

The Nokia 6, boasting an aluminum unibody and 5.5-inch HD screen, is the first in a new range of Android-powered phones and tablets expected this year and carrying the well-known brand name.

In 2014, Nokia sold its handset business to Microsoft, which, in turn, sold its feature phone division to a subsidiary of Foxconn and a newly formed Finnish firm for $350 million. As part of the deal, Nokia receives royalty payments from HMD for sales of every branded phone and tablet over the next decade.

"From the outset we have stated that we intended to move with speed to establish a position as a player in the smartphone category and create products that truly meet consumer needs," HMD CEO Arto Nummela said in a statement. "The Nokia 6 is a result of listening to our consumers who desire a beautifully crafted handset with exceptional durability, entertainment and display features."

That includes the latest-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, with X6 LTE modem, 4GB RAM, and 64GB storage, running on the latest version of Android Nougat. The phone also features dual amplifiers, a 16-megapixel rear camera, and a 8-megapixel front shooter.

The Nokia 6 is expected to launch in "early 2017," exclusively in China; local consumers can look for the smartphone online at JD.com, available soon for 1,699 Chinese yuan ($245).

"China is the largest and most competitive smartphone market in the world," according to Nestor Xu, HMD vice president of Greater China. "It is no coincidence that we have chosen to bring our first Android device to China with a long-term partner."

Nokia's phone website, operated by HMD, highlights the Nokia 6 and Nokia 150, a candybar phone announced in December and rolling out first in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

"We look forward to unveiling further products in the first half of this year," Nummela teased.

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