Nokia is back — and it’s back with a vengeance. The Finnish company finally launched its first Android-powered smartphone, the Nokia 6, but we’re expecting to see a lot more action this year. While the new devices won’t be made by Nokia, they will follow the company’s design guidelines and will retain the brand name.
HMD Global will be manufacturing these devices exclusively. We originally thought there would be up to four new phones in 2017, but rumors suggest there will actually be as many as six or seven. The rumors come from Malaysian distributor Avaxx, which said Nokia will aim to launch phones in all price ranges.
Some of these phones — namely the Nokia 8 and 9 — may not be as far off from release as previously thought. A tweet dated May 28 from the official Nokia Mobile account reads: “We plan to release our upcoming smartphones worldwide before the end of the second quarter of 2017. Stay tuned for updates.”
As far as the phones we do know about, Nokia has just revealed some release dates and prices for customers in the United Kingdom. The Nokia 3 will launch July 12 for 120 British pounds. It will be followed up by the Nokia 5 on August 2 for 180 pounds. Finally, the Nokia 6 will hit stores two weeks later on August 16 for 220 pounds. American shoppers will be able to grab the Nokia 6 a bit sooner from Amazon starting July 10 for $230, or $180 as an ad-supported Prime exclusive.
Here’s everything we know about Nokia’s 2017 Android phones so far.
Nokia’s upcoming flagship has landed on Chinese benchmarking site AnTuTu, and the specs listed mostly fall in line with previous reports: a QHD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) display paired with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. The phone is shown with the code name TA-1004, and is also said to be running Android 7.1.1. French Android news site FrAndroid previously stated the display measures 5.3 inches and that the handset also features a 3.5-millimeter headphone port.
One major difference from previous rumors is the device’s camera setup. The Nokia 9 had previously been linked to a dual-camera system at the back, but AnTuTu says the phone will sport simply one lens on the rear and another up front, both rated at 13 megapixels.
A Geekbench page for a device listed as “Unknown Heart” popped up on May 25, and some believe it could represent the Nokia 9. The company’s next flagship has been linked to the “Heart” moniker, and the specs would definitely indicate a top-tier device. According to the listing, the phone could have as much as 8GB of RAM.
Now, these kinds of benchmarks are common in the run-up to the launch of a highly anticipated phone and are hardly confirmation of final hardware. Even if this is the Nokia 9 we’re looking at, it could be a pre-production unit built to test higher RAM capacities. While 8GB of RAM might sound like overkill, many flagships in China are packing considerably more memory than we’ve ever seen in mobile devices before, and it’s not that much higher than the 6GB found in some phones on the market right now.
Earlier in May, a device believed to be a prototype Nokia 9 was also leaked by FrAndroid. The phone in these images is clad in a boxy blue case to conceal as much about its exterior as possible, but images of a spec sheet and the rear camera stack give us some clues about the handset.
What we can see is that there’s a rectangular fingerprint sensor on the front, situated between two hardware buttons in what looks to be a rather thick bezel. At the back, the silver camera housing shows two lenses, each believed to be 13 megapixels, as well as a flash and possibly a laser autofocus window. From these shots, the design seems quite underwhelming — but keep in mind, if this is indeed the Nokia 9 we’re looking at, it’s a pre-production unit that may not be entirely representative of the device’s final form.
Back in April, a sketch of a device claimed to be the Nokia 9 obtained by Nokia Power User gave wh
at we thought, at the time, was our first look at the company’s upcoming flagship. The design appeared to follow the example of LG’s recently released G6, particularly in its edge-to-edge display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and slightly rounded corners. It’s important to note we cannot verify the authenticity of the drawing.
Around the back, we see a series of vertically arranged cutouts for what would appear to be dual cameras, a flash, and potentially a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.
This leak followed another report from Nokia Power User that indicated the Nokia 9 — not the Nokia 8, as initially believed — will, in fact, be HMD’s flagship for 2017. Early on, there was confusion about the name of Nokia’s range-topping device, though now it seems the Nokia 8 is lower on the pecking order.
According to Nokia Power User, the Nokia 9 is believed to feature a Snapdragon 835, along with a hefty 6GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. A 22-megapixel rear-facing camera and 12-megapixel front-facing camera are also rumored.
Perhaps most interesting is the claim that the Nokia 9 will reportedly offer an iris scanner, bringing its security features in line with Samsung’s new Galaxy S8.
The same report also notes that the device will be the first to offer the “Nokia OZO audio” enhancements, so it should be pretty good in the sound department. Last but not least, the report suggests the phone will have a 5.5-inch QHD display.
To date, speculation around the Nokia 8 has been just that — speculation. Now, however, rumors are a little more solid. According to recent reports, the Nokia 8 will be launched alongside the Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 at some point in June. There’s no word yet on a specific launch date. The report, which comes from India Today, also highlighted that the device will likely come with a Snapdragon 835 processor and a 23MP rear-facing camera.
Previously, the Nokia 8 was listed on Jingdong, or JD.com, for pre-sale. The listing did not state exactly when the phone would go on sale officially, but it did list a price of 3,188 yuan, which equates to around $463. It is worth noting, however, that the images listed are very similar to a concept design that was released earlier, suggesting that it could in fact be a fake listing.
In addition to the leaked sketch of the Nokia 9, Nokia Power User shared a similar image of the Nokia 8. The two devices appear to be very much alike from the outside, with the only major differences being the larger bezels surrounding the Nokia 8’s display, and the front-facing fingerprint sensor. The screen still spans from edge to edge, but the rounded corners are notably absent. It is worth noting that the phone pictured here looks very different from one that surfaced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January that was also believed to be the Nokia 8, seen in a video below.
Other rumors from Nokia Power User directly contradict information we originally heard about the phone. While the Nokia 8 has been rumored to feature a flagship-spec processor like the Snapdragon 821 or Snapdragon 835, new reports indicate that instead it will feature a much more midrange Qualcomm Snapdragon 660.
A YouTuber, however, uploaded footage of alleged Nokia devices powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 and 835. The device was at Qualcomm’s booth at CES 2017, and the chipset manufacturer reportedly asked people not to take videos or photos of it. The YouTuber, whose account is named Total Tech, didn’t comply.
Before we take a look at the video — it should be noted that we can’t verify this information, and the devices do not have any “Nokia” branding, so we’re casting a heavy dose of skepticism here. The YouTuber says Nokia and Qualcomm “have been working together on the Snapdragon 835 and the 10 nanometer process for the chip with Samsung for a while, according to inside sources, and Nokia has been their hardware reference provider for the 821 and 835.”
Again, we can’t verify these insider sources’ clai
ms, and whether or not Nokia has been in partnership with Qualcomm. Total Tech claims the device in his video is the upcoming Nokia 8.
The video shows the difference in camera stabilization between a Snapdragon 821 processor and the Snapdragon 835. Total Tech says both devices are the Nokia 8 with the two processors — the one with the Snapdragon 821 will come with 4GB of RAM, and the Snapdragon 835 variant will have 6GB RAM.
Both allegedly also feature electronic image stabilization, a 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, MicroSD card support up to 256GB, 64GB and 128GB internal storage options, dual front-facing speakers, and LED notification lights.
Total Tech also says the Nokia 8 will have a 24-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization, as well as a front-facing camera with 12-megapixels — it’s unclear if this applies to both models.
What’s interesting is the back of the device, which Total Tech briefly shows in the video. There’s a large camera, like the one found on the back of the Lumia 1020 Windows Mobile device. That camera packed 41-megapixels and featured Carl Zeiss optics — it’s quite possible the partnership could come into play again.
Fresh rumors indicate that Nokia is also working on a Nokia 7 handset — filling in the gap between the Nokia 6 and the so far only rumored Nokia 8. According to rumors from Nokia Power User, the Nokia 7 will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, and it may feature a 1080p display and a metallic body.
That’s pretty much all we know about the Nokia 7 at this point — but we’ll update this article as we hear more.
Devices that have been officially announced
The Nokia 6 is the company’s first Android smartphone, which debuted late last year. It packs some pretty decent specs — including 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and the “latest version of Android.” On top of that, the device boasts a 16MP rear-facing camera, and an 8MP front-facing camera — all for only $245.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news — the device comes with a somewhat disappointing Qualcomm Snapdragon 430. It also has limited availability outside China at the moment, though that will change in July and August, when the phone lands in the U.S. and U.K., respectively.
Nokia’s presence at Mobile World Congress in February included three devices, two of which were the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 3. Don’t expect flagship specs, though, as the two Android 7.0 Nougat smartphones will have lesser hardware than the Nokia 6 to hit lower price points.
The Nokia 5 features a 5.2-inch screen with a 1,280 x 720-pixel resolution, and is powered by the same Snapdragon 430 processor but with 2GB of RAM. The rear camera will pack 13 megapixels, but the rest of the specs are expected to match the Nokia 6. It’s why the device costs only 189 euros, or about $200.
The Nokia 3 will be the runt of the litter and will only cost 149 euros, or $158.
It won’t be Nokia at the helm of the forthcoming devices’ development, technically speaking. HMD Global, a Finnish company co-founded by former Nokia executives Arto Nummela and Florian Seiche, acquired the rights to the company’s mobile brand from Microsoft in May. HMD has a contract with FIH, a subsidiary of iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, and under a strict licensing partnership, follows Nokia’s design and hardware guidelines in exchange for access to the company’s extensive patent library.
In recent years, the company has struggled to gain a foothold in the high-end mobile market. Following the company’s adoption of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system in 2011 and its acquisition by Microsoft in 2014, sales of its handset suffered — shipments in 2013 alone were down 22 percent year on year, according to Strategy Analytics.
Following Nokia’s divestiture from its parent company earlier this year, things haven’t looked much better. In April of last year, thanks in part to lower-than-expected smartphone shipments, it announced 900 million euros in downsizing measures — a plan which in part involved the layoffs of 1,400 staff members in Germany, 1,300 in Finland, and 400 in France.
Despite the Finnish company’s woes, though, it’s setting its eyes on the future. It teamed up independently with Foxconn to produce the N1, an Android-based tablet. It dipped its toes in virtual reality with the Ozo, a $60,000 professional-grade 360-degree camera. And it acquired French fitness device company Withings last year.
“We have been reinventing ourselves for 150 years using this amazing brand,”
Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia’s consumer Nokia Technologies division, told Digital Trends in June.
“We’re starting to focus on people’s happiness and health in a way that wasn’t possible before because the technology wasn’t possible before. You can expect some really surprising products in the next year or two directly from this company as we turn a new chapter.”