Microsoft Lumia device 'coming soon', but cheap phones keep Nokia name

Microsoft is a step closer to ditching the Nokia name from its Lumia Windows Phones, but will keep the name for entry-level devices.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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The first Lumia device to lose the Nokia name is coming soon, says Microsoft, but the Nokia brand isn't disappearing from phones completely -- it'll still adorn entry-level phones.

Microsoft bought Nokia's phone business in April for $7.2 billion, a deal that will see the division continue to pump out phones with the Lumia name stamped on them. The Finnish company Nokia lives on, but no longer has anything to do with making phones. As part of the deal Microsoft also bought the rights to keep using the name Nokia on new phones for the time being, but is phasing that out in favour of branding new phones with the name Microsoft Lumia. Check out the picture above to see what the new Microsoft Lumia devices will look like when they're unveiled.

"We are looking forward to unveiling a Microsoft Lumia device soon", says Microsoft's Senior Vice President of Marketing for Phones, Tuula Rytilä, in a blog post on the Nokia -- sorry, Microsoft -- website. She describes the change as a "natural progression" and denies that the move makes today's Nokia Lumia phones obsolete.

It sure feels that way, however. It makes business sense for Microsoft to make the drastic change in order to further the Windows Phone platform, which so far hasn't been able to compete seriously with its smartphone rivals, Apple's iPhone and Google's Android software. But this is the second time Microsoft has effectively cut adrift older phones, having rendered Windows Phone 7 devices obsolete when Windows Phone 8 came along and apps were no longer compatible for the existing devices. And at some point in the future Microsoft is set to do it again when the next generation of Windows Phone becomes integrated with Windows 10.

Meanwhile Microsoft will continue to sell entry-level phones such as the Nokia 130 with the familiar Nokia brand, which Microsoft has licensed from Nokia. These wallet-friendly phones are important for Microsoft as the industry looks to milk cash from developing markets such as India and China.

In the short term, making phones isn't proving lucrative for Microsoft: restructuring costs around the absorption of Nokia proved a drag on profit in its most recent financial results, although in better news sales are up.

Although it's never been quite such a powerful force in the US and other parts of the world, the Nokia name is a long-established part of mobile phone history in Europe and other parts of the world. Up until just a few short years ago when Samsung took the crown Nokia had been the world's biggest mobile phone manufacturer pretty much forever; here in CNET's London office, we can't help but mourn the passing of Nokia phones -- for many of us, our first phone was a Nokia, and we still feel an emotional attachment to such telephonic powerhouses as the Nokia 3210.

Watch this: Could Android have saved Nokia?