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 these 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 exclusively manufacturing these devices. Originally, we thought there would be up to four new phones in 2017, but the 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.
Here’s everything we know about Nokia’s 2017 Android phones so far.
An Android Lumia 1020? ‘Nokia 8’ surfaces
A YouTuber has 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 the device. 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.”
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Again, we can’t verify these insider sources’ claims, and whether or not Nokia has been in partnership with Qualcomm. Total Tech claims the device in his video is an upcoming device named the 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.
Gear up for Mobile World Congress
While we know the Nokia 6 is heading to China and a device named the E1 may be announced soon, we’ll find out a lot more about the company’s 2017 plans soon. In a Facebook post, Nokia Mobile teased the already announced Nokia 6 and said more announcements will come on February 26.
That date is a day before Mobile World Congress begins in Barcelona — it’s usually the day smartphone manufacturers announce their flagship products for the year. We’ll have to wait and see what to expect, so stay tuned.
The Nokia E1 could be on its way
HMD just launched the Nokia 6, but it already looks as though the company is prepping another release. The new E1 was just leaked online, with both specs and photos appearing in a post from Nokia Power User.
Design-wise, the phone looks pretty different from the Nokia 6, taking a much more rectangular approach that’s similar to some of Sony’s handsets. The only photo we have is blurry, so we’re looking forward to a slightly more detailed look.
Unfortunately, the leak doesn’t show the flagship device we’re all waiting for from Nokia, but rather a more budget-friendly device. Under the hood, the phone will feature a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 425, along with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a 13MP rear-facing camera. It will run Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.
If accurate, we should expect this device to be priced at around $200 or lower — that’s considering the fact that the Nokia 6 comes in at $245, and features slightly better specs than the E1. While the Nokia 6 is only going on sale in China, it’s not yet known where the E1 will be launched.
The Nokia 6 is the company’s first Android smartphone, and 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, and it’s only available in China. We are, however, looking forward to seeing what else the company has to offer.
It’s highly unlikely the Pixel name will be used on any version actually put on sale, but an unreleased Nokia phone used in a benchmark test has that name attached. Sadly, it’s not the most exciting phone we’ve seen, and definitely occupies the lower end of the smartphone scale.
The Nokia Pixel, as it’s known here, has a basic dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor inside with 1GB of RAM, resulting in a very ordinary performance test on the Geekbench website. The good news is it has the latest version of Google’s operating system, Android 7.0.1, installed. No other specification details are revealed in the test, so the screen size and resolution are a mystery, but don’t expect it to challenge the Galaxy S7 on either.
Earlier leaks have detailed more technically impressive phones, indicating that the company will launch a complete range of smartphones, with models suited to all wallets, and for all markets around the world.
Flagship Nokia phones
According to a report in Nokia Power User, there are two Nokia-branded Android handsets bound for an unveiling in late 2016 or early 2017, and alleged images have leaked of both.
“Trusted sources” told the publication that the two handsets, one smaller (5.2 inches) and one larger (5.5 inches), have “sturdy” metal bodies characteristic of Nokia’s historical designs. And one of their rumored features has the potential to break new smartphone ground. The phones’ cameras are being described as the “most sensitive ever” to come to market, and are reportedly the product of a years-long, $1.35 billion graphene development effort. Another reported innovation is a “touch & hover” interaction that might, much like Microsoft’s scrapped McLaren project, use a combination of sensors to respond to finger gestures.
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Other highlights include water and dust resistance up to IP68, fingerprint sensors, and OLED displays with QHD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) resolutions. In terms of software, the handsets will reportedly sport an improved version of Nokia’s predictive Z-Launcher — a newer version than the beta available in the Google Play app store, apparently — atop the very latest version of Android, Android Nougat.
Under the hood, both Nokia Android N powered phones will pack the Snapdragon 820 processor. We don’t know details regarding RAM, storage and camera at this point of time, but the leak suggests that sensors on the two phones will be the most sensitive ever and will be based upon Nokia’s extensive research on wonder material “Graphene.”
Built by HMD Global, designed by Nokia
Assuming the report is accurate, 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. HDM 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.
News of new handsets is consistent with HMD Global’s stated intentions. In May, the company promised a range of devices, including feature phones, smartphones, and tablets, in late 2016.
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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, 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 has teamed up independently with Foxconn to produce the N1, an Android-based tablet. It has dipped its toes in virtual reality with the Ozo, a $60,000 professional-grade 360-degree camera. And it’s getting into fitness, too: it acquired French fitness device company Withings this 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.”