Nokia (the original company) announced recently that it's going to get back in the mobile game after selling off its hardware division to Microsoft, with a new Android-based tablet called the Nokia N1. Now, the company has said via its Chinese social media accounts that it will start selling the device in China on January 7.
The Nokia N1 looks to be a direct iPad Mini competitor, at a much lower $249 price. The device will have a 7.9" IPS display with the same 2048 x 1536 resolution as the ("Retina") iPad Mini. It will also come with a quad-core Intel Atom processor, a PowerVR G6430 GPU (the same one the iPad Mini 2 and 3 use, clocked at 457 MHz, with burst speed up to 533 MHz), an 8MP rear camera, a 5MP front-camera, and a 5,300 mAh battery.
The Nokia N1 has a 7.5 mm body that's as slim as the latest iPad Mini 3. It will run Android 5.0 and will have access to the Play Store -- although probably not in China where Google doesn't have a great relationship with the government anymore. The tablet will also use its own "Z launcher" that is supposedly heavily gesture-based.
One of the unique features of the Nokia N1 is that it's one of the first devices to support reversible Type-C USB connectors. Type-C USB supports transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps and a power output of up to 100 W.
If you're wondering how Nokia can still make devices if it has already sold off its hardware division to Microsoft, it's because the tablet will be a Nokia device in name only. The device will be fully manufactured and distributed by Foxconn, the manufacturer that assembles devices for many companies, including Apple. Foxconn will have full responsibility for the device, which includes liabilities and warranty costs, and it will have to pay Nokia for its Z launcher and its name.
Nokia seems interested in licensing its name to multiple manufacturers, but that doesn't seem like a solid long-term strategy. If some customers are happy with some "Nokia" devices, but aren't happy with other "Nokia" devices, that could cause some confusion and ultimately hurt the Nokia brand. Nokia is already licensing its name to two companies -- Foxconn and Microsoft -- and the latter can still use the name for the feature phones (although this may end up being only a short term deal).