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Nokia’s Former APAC CEO Starts Newkia, To Make Android-Powered Phones That Nokia Won’t

Nokia’s Former APAC CEO Starts Newkia, To Make Android-Powered Phones That Nokia Won’t

Fans of Nokia phones who wonder what could have been if the company embraced Android may get an answer from a new company called Newkia. Started on the day Microsoft acquired Nokia’s device business, Singapore-based Newkia was founded by Thomas Zilliacus, who worked for 15 years at Nokia, where he was the Finnish company’s Asia-Pacific CEO for seven years.

Zilliacus wanted to buy Nokia’s phone business a year ago in hopes of steering the company towards Android, but he wasn’t able to raise enough money to do so. Forming Newkia, apparently, was his next best option. The Singapore-based company already has a few ex-Nokia staff on its payroll, and Zilliacus plans to keep the R&D team still located in Finland.


To fulfill his vision of making a Nokia-like Android phone, he plans to hire Nokia employees who have expressed interest in developing for Android. He already has some ex-staff on board, and wants to hire more. “What Newkia wants to do is to use Nokia know-how, technology, and design to build the world’s best smartphones, but running on Android,” he said.

He noted how Nokia missed opportunities because it was arrogant, due to its dominant position in the market at that time. He gave as an example a Nokia prototype that looked like the iPhone, developed four years before the first Apple iPhone. This product was never launched because the company thought the market wouldn’t be interested — he still has this prototype in his drawer.

Newkia hopes to launch its first phone within a year. The company plans to target an Asian market, but it hasn’t ruled out the possibility of releasing a handset in the US. It remains to be seen if the company can come up with a device that can match the quality of the Nokia Lumia 1020, but one can surely hope.

Would you be interested in the Nokia phones running Android on them, aka Newkia phones? Or do you like Windows on them better?