Nokia's Making Cell Phones and Tablets? -- Tech Roundup

The trip of Nokia has been a long one. Once a leader in the cell phone market, other companies were eventually able to topple Nokia with new devices. Then a few years ago, Microsoft (MSFT) purchased Nokia's handset division in what ultimately turned into a multi-billion dollar blunder. 

Now, Nokia has licensed its name to HMD Global -- run by some of the same people in the Microsoft/Nokia business before Microsoft shut it down. 

So HMD will be the company behind the phones, while Nokia is the name on the device. But it won't be HMD or Nokia making the devices. Instead, HMD will be responsible for designing and marketing the phones, while third party manufacturers in Asia build the devices. 

For now, the company is sticking to simplistic feature phones. Although these devices have little traction in the U.S., they can still be found in many other parts of the world. And while growth is slowing, as this market is shrinking by 15% per year, according to CEO Arto Nummela, it still kicks out enough cash flow for the company to work with. 

At least, that's the plan for now as HMD looks to get develop both smartphones and tablets that run on an Android-based operating system. 

Will HMD/Nokia succeed? It's unlikely that the device maker will overthrow Apple (AAPL) or Samsung (SSNLF) in the global phone market. But it is possible for the company to dominate certain parts of the world, particularly with its feature phones. Since Nokia is such a well-known global brand, perhaps its smartphones will have traction too. 


Make some space, there's another Silicon Valley unicorn to account for. That's right, another company out of California is fetching a valuation of $1 billion or more.

The valuation was reportedly reached when the company Opendoor Labs, a house-flipping company based in San Francisco, raised $210 million

What's the money for? Apparently the company is looking to expand to 10 new markets in 2017. The raise is also somewhat significant in that the build-up to the unicorn valuations -- involving Snapchat, Uber, Airbnb and others -- had been steadily rising until meeting some push back over the last year or so. 

However, Snapchat has been able to raise capital at a growing valuation and now Opendoor has joined the club. 

Instead of being a software company though -- something like a Zillow (Z) for instance -- Opendoor actually buys houses and attempts to sell them for higher prices. For those looking to get out of their house and get on with their move, it offers them a quick way to do so.

The risk of course, is that the value of the homes could decline for Opendoor, but apparently, not too many investors are worried about that at the moment. It's business model also explains why it had to raise so much capital to move into new markets. 


Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg is opening up here pocketbook and her donations are pretty mind-boggling. 

While it's not the 99% of Facebook stock owned by CEO Mark Zuckerberg that he pledged to give away, it's still a lot of dough we're talking about. Sandberg will, according to the New York Times, "transfer nearly $100 million of her Facebook shares to an existing fund [to be used for donations]."

Sandberg will use the money to donate to organizations focused on empowering women, as well as to organizations aimed at helping others cope with losses or hardship. 

It's good to see the world's wealthy donating their money to bettering the world and improving others' live rather than adding to their portfolios and property amassment. 

Sandberg joins Zuckerberg, Microsoft's Bill Gates and countless others in the spirit of giving. 

Shares of Facebook closed at $115.10 Wednesday, down 2.8%. 

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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