Nokia's return to the smartphone market in 2017 is officially confirmed, and the first new Nokia phone will hit the scene in the first half of next year.

Microsoft acquired Nokia back in 2014, and under the terms of the deal, Nokia was not allowed to release devices under its brand until late 2016. After a couple of years of trying to get its smartphone business off the ground, Microsoft eventually decided to let go of Nokia earlier this year, selling the feature phone business.

Nokia changing hands marked the first sign that the iconic brand would return to market soon enough, and rumors have been intensifying as of late, with at least one new Nokia phone expected to hit the scene in 2017.

Nokia's new parent company, HMD Global, just issued a press release confirming that Nokia is indeed making a comeback next year, this time going with Android instead of Microsoft's Windows Phone.

"A new and exciting chapter in the story of Nokia branded phones begins today as HMD Global Oy (HMD) — the new home of Nokia phones enters the market," HMD announced. "Finnish company HMD will bring a new generation of mobile phones to consumers, with the first smartphone products set to be launched in the first half of 2017, alongside the existing Nokia branded feature phone business."

Unique Strategic Partnership

HMD says that it has formed a unique strategic partnership model for this ambitious project and will work with leading technology companies such as Nokia, FIH Mobile Limited and Google to revive the Nokia brand.

Future Nokia smartphones will be running on Android, Google's popular mobile operating system that currently powers a massive 86 percent of the world's smartphones.

FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision, is a global manufacturer of consumer electronics and will be in charge of manufacturing the new Nokia phones and tablets.

With these partnerships in place, HMD aims to develop a powerful Nokia product range focused on innovation, reliability, quality and durability. The iconic Nokia brand is famous worldwide for the robustness of its devices, considered among the most durable mobile devices ever, and HMD seems keen on living up to the legacy.

Nokia Feature Phones And Smartphones

HMD will market Nokia's feature phones as well as a new range of smartphones, and Nokia will receive royalty payments for each device HMD sells under the Nokia brand. HMD will start selling Nokia-branded feature phones on a new page hosted on Nokia's main website but operated by HMD.

HMD has yet to offer any details regarding the Nokia Android smartphones' release, but recent rumors point at the purported Nokia D1C as the first handset to hit the market next year. While the Nokia D1C is expected to come as a midranger, a recent leak also revealed a powerful Nokia flagship smartphone that would compete at the high end of the smartphone market.

Recent rumors also pointed at a MWC 2017 unveiling of new Nokia smartphones, which could make sense. HMD and Nokia could introduce new devices at the trade show then release them to market within the first half of 2017.

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