HMD is keeping its new phone design really well hidden, new Nokia remains a mystery too

We've had a glance at HMD's funky cases, but the rest remains unclear for now

(Image credit: HMD Global)
Quick Summary

HMD announced plans to launch smartphones under its own brand but has so far said very little about them.

The Fusion cases reveal some details, but even the design patents are hidden.

At Mobile World Congress, HMD outlined its plans to launch smartphones under its own brand. There are a couple of reasons for this: first, the Nokia licence is due to expire in 2026 and second, HMD probably thinks it knows the market well enough to be able to run with its own brand into the future.

The company has said that there will be new Nokia phones - including a new iconic re-release - but that device remains a mystery for now. So does the forthcoming HMD phones, with an air of mystery about those new devices too.

HMD didn't reveal the design of its new phones, instead focusing on the launch a Barbie-branded device that it's working on in partnership with Mattell. Outside of that, the company talked about HMD Fusion instead, which gives us our best look at the new HMD device.

Fusion centres around something HMD calls "smart outfits", which are clever cases that can be designed for a range of functions. There's a toolkit for developers to design these outfits and this also reveals something of what HMD's phone will look like.

HMD Fusion

(Image credit: HMD)

These images reveal a case that looks like it might support MagSafe charging in some form - perhaps for the new Qi2 standard - something that looks like a case with controls for gaming, a case that looks like it has a kickstand as well as bulge on the rear (potentially an expanded battery?) and finally, a case that looks like it's carrying some kind of infrared scanner - perhaps for industrial uses.

But these cases give us an idea of how the camera will look on the rear of the phone - and it's not too far removed from the Nokia XR21. Certainly, we're looking at a twin camera design, and the wording says 108MP AI dual camera.

What's interesting about some of HMD's other supporting graphics, is that it's entirely made up of smartphones in different colours - pink, yellow and blue. While these are graphical representations, the camera location matches those on the Fusion designs.

Looking to discover more, Nokiamob visited the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), only to discover that HMD Global is keeping its designs well hidden. You can see there are 642 designs for a whole range of Nokia devices back to 2003, including devices like the N-Gage. But the most recent designs don't open - the last six devices are listed as "subject to deferment", so the designs stay hidden.

HMD has been using "you don't know what we're doing this summer" as a tagline for the announcement of its devices and that's true - we don't know what HMD is doing. But we do know it's planning a device with funky cases and offering repairability.  

Chris Hall

Chris has been writing about consumer tech for over 15 years. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief of Pocket-lint, he's covered just about every product launched, witnessed the birth of Android, the evolution of 5G, and the drive towards electric cars. You name it and Chris has written about it, driven it or reviewed it. Now working as a freelance technology expert, Chris' experience sees him covering all aspects of smartphones, smart homes and anything else connected. Chris has been published in titles as diverse as Computer Active and Autocar, and regularly appears on BBC News, BBC Radio, Sky, Monocle and Times Radio. He was once even on The Apprentice... but we don't talk about that.