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Amidst Microsoft buyout, Nokia still trucking to mobile shows

Although Microsoft will soon own the business, Nokia will February's Mobile World Congress phone show. The question is, will anyone care?

Nokia's Mobile World Congress invite
Nokia will launch new products at Spain's enormous telecommunications show next month.

Never mind about dismal earnings and a looming Microsoft buyout that will strip Nokia of its mobile phone business, the company isn't giving up its traditional presence at Mobile World Congress, February's mobile-only show. On Thursday, Nokia mailed out invitations for its press conference that, cryptically, welcome conference-goers to "meet under the tree."

It isn't clear what the tree stands for or even if Nokia has any products to launch. I'll go out on a not-very-long limb, though, to predict that until the switch is permanent, the Finnish phone-maker will still usher out Nokia-branded devices.

In fact, we already have assurance that there's more to come. Earlier this week, Verizon accidentally published a Web page advertising the Nokia Lumia Icon/Lumia 929 phone, if only for the blink of an eye, before taking it down.

The bigger question on anyone's mind isn't necessarily which products Nokia will announce pre-Microsoft transition, or what the company will do to try to regain lost market share after today's earning call. It's what will happen to Nokia phones (and tablet) as we know it under Redmond's leadership -- how the phones will be branded, if they'll look the same or carry a new design aesthetic, and if they'll be more or less compelling when marketed from within a company with as stodgy a reputation as Microsoft.

The questions about "Nokia's" future are enough to eclipse any product unveiling, mysterious tree analogy or not.