Nokia will reportedly handle the design but let partners deal with manufacturing, sales, and distribution.
Nokia officially sold its handset business to Microsoft last year, but the firm is reportedly not done with mobile.
Citing two anonymous sources, Re/code today reported that the firm is eyeing a return to the space.
Nokia Technologies is spearheading the effort, Re/code said. The division handles licensing of Nokia's 10,000-plus patents, but also develops its own products, like the N1 tablet (above) and the predictive Nokia Z Launcher interface that arrived last year.
Nokia doesn't want to recreate the division it just sold to Microsoft, though. According to Re/code, Nokia will instead handle the design but let partners deal with manufacturing, sales, and distribution.
Don't expect to see anything in the coming months. The Microsoft deal bars Nokia from selling phones until the end of 2015, and from licensing until Q3 2016, Re/code said.
Phones aren't the only thing on the menu, though. The report also suggested that Nokia was exploring emerging tech like virtual reality.
Nokia declined to comment on the rumors.
For now, Nokia has its hands full with Alcatel-Lucent, which it just acquired for $16.5 billion. The combined organization will be called Nokia Corporation, and focus on the Internet of Things and cloud computing, plus 5G development and IP and software-defined networking, analytics, sensors, and imaging.
It is also eyeing a possible sale of the Here mapping business. Nokia "has initiated a review of strategic options, including a potential divestment, for its Here business," the firm said last week.