Nokia is launching N1 Android-powered tablet, marking the company’s return to consumer electronics.
The surprise launch pits the Finnish company against Microsoft, which completed its takeover of Nokia’s previous mobile-devices business in April.
The N1 tablet is due to go on sale in China towards the start of 2015, ahead of other countries.
Nokia said it was not making the device itself, but had licensed its brand, design and software to a third-party.
“This is a great product for Nokia fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet,” said Sebastian Nystrom, head of products at Nokia Technologies, who announced the product at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki.
Microsoft sells Nokia-labeled kit of its own, including the Lumia 2520 Windows RT-powered tablet.
Earlier this month, it unveiled its first Lumia smartphone without the Nokia name. But it indicated that it would continue using the brand on its less powerful “feature phone” line-up, saying it had the right to do so for up to a decade under the terms of its $7.2 billion takeover.
It is not clear whether Nokia’s announcement affects those plans.
The only comment from Microsoft was a brief statement: “This is a Nokia announcement and is not associated in any way with Microsoft.”
The N1 is a 7.9in aluminium-framed tablet, whose design resembles the iPad Mini.
Unlike Apple’s device, however, it is powered by Google’s Android 5.0 operating system, features an Intel Atom processor and has a Micro-USB slot. The planned retail price is $249.
It runs Nokia’s own Z Launcher user interface – known as a skin – on top of Android.
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