What’s inside Nokia’s Helsinki HQ?

It seems like almost everyone in Finland has worked for Nokia at one time or another.

Printed on highway signs in permanent letters, Nokia House is a permanent fixture within the country, helping to define Finland’s past, present, and future.

Over the past few months, Nokia has recevied an exorbitant amount of negative media attention stemming from massive layoffs, a lost 3G patent case to IPCom and news that many of Nokia’s online stores are closing. Add criticism about its choice in partnership, Microsoft, and Nokia seems to be in a precarious position.

This week in Helsinki, Finland, TG Daily was lucky enough to get the tour of the building and talk to some of its employees.

In true Nokia tight-lipped fashion, the tour was relegated to the ground floor and a museum-like showroom including an exhibit with all of the Nokia phones you once knew and loved from back in the day.

Besides the brief glimpse into the company’s past, the folks at Nokia gave us an equally limited glimpse into the corporation’s future plans and reactions to recent news reports.

When asked if Nokia would abandon handset manufacturing and instead focus on research and development, head of Media Relations Doug Dawson said, “We’re a product company, we want to remain a product company. And we want to remain a global company with a strong global presence. We want to be a key player in a fascinating market.”

Nokia claims that Microsoft will not be buying Nokia’s mobile phone business, despite rumors that the partnership between the two giants is more like a Microsoft takeover.

Aside from dodging questions about the business climate between the two mega companies, Nokia was equally tight lipped about rumors regarding the launch of a new handset later this week. VP of Product Marketing Ilari Nurmi claimed, “We are fundamentally a company that makes great mobile products. It’s what we’ve always been, and is what we’ll be concentrating on in the future too.”

The execs did mention plans to launch a MeeGo device later this year, something that has been previously reported by received somewhat poorly leaving everyone wondering “what for?”

When asked about Symbian, another seamingly dead venture for the company who now plans to focus solely on Windows phones, Nurmi added “We want to make the transition to Windows fast. But we still want to support Symbian for the immediate future.”

Aside from the hardware focus, Nokia plans to focus on mapping and navigation, which will be used “broadly across the entire Windows platform.”

Might these maps be rebranded as Bing maps? Nokia would not say but it is understood that the Nokia maps will be used in Windows phones.

Could Tuesday’s (rumored) new hardware announcement “save” Nokia from the negative press? Let’s hope so.