Nokia is making its way back to smartphones, initially announcing that it's would be embracing Android and producing a number of back in May 2016. The company then reaffirmed its position in December, after forming with HMD Global, the company that now has the rights to the Nokia brand.
Nokia's story has more twists and turns than a mountain pass, with an equal number of ups and downs. The announcement that we'll be seeing Nokia-branded phones once again is certainly exciting and we've been keeping our ear to the ground listening out for rumours of what might be launched.
With rumours swirling and plenty of confusion, we're cutting through the murk to bring you a clearer picture of what to expect on launch day.
Nokia Android phones: Two handsets lines rumoured
- Nokia 6 (formerly Nokia D1C?)
- Nokia 8 (formerly Nokia P1?)
First up, there's rumours that Nokia is working on two (or more) handsets lines. The first Nokia Android phone has already launched in the form of the Nokia 6, a mid-range device but with some high-quality features. This was thought to be using the codename D1C prior to the announcement.
The more exciting device might be codenamed the Nokia P1, which is thought to be the flagship phone. This device now has a name too: Nokia 8. This name comes from a leak claiming it is the forthcoming handset, but we'll talk about that in a minute.
It's the Nokia P1 or Nokia 8 that we're looking at here, a device that could be the flagship for Nokia in 2017.
Nokia 8 design
- IP68 protection suggested
- Metal build rumoured
In terms of design, it's said that the Nokia Android phone will offer a premium metal design. The Nokia 6 is metal, with HMD Global going to town explaining the crafting process in some detail, so we imagine the same will apply for Nokia's flagship phone. In terms of details, apart from metal, there's been talk of IP68 water and dust protection in the Nokia 8 flagship device.
There's little else to go on so far, except the leaking of a couple of shells, displaying metal bodywork, but not a lot more. Some of the leaked shells did appear to be the Nokia 6. Some leaks are rumoured to be an old Asha prototype.
The biggest "leak" that's getting a lot of attention came out of CES, claiming to be the Nokia 8. These images show a handset on the Qualcomm stand at CES, with some elaborate camera work around the back. Qualcomm has told us they are reference devices built for benchmarking, in this case Snapdragon 835 and all the associated technologies. Having seen plenty of Qualcomm reference devices, that's what it looks like to us, so we're not entirely convinced that's anything like the design we'll be getting.
We suspect that the Nokia flagship will look a lot like the Nokia 6 to give a family feel, although there's an unsubstantiated rumour that it will be based on the Sharp Aquos P1 - hence that codename that's been circulating.
YouTube user Concept Creator has posted a video showing an in-depth look at what they he expects the Nokia 8/P1 to look like. It's certainly a gorgeous design, combining glass and metal to produce a high-end, premium device. It places the SIM-card and Micro SD card tray on the bottom left edge and a complex camera on the back with a glass covering.
There's lashing of brushed aluminium all around, a USB Type-C port and a 3.5mm headphone port on the bottom. It's shown in both black and white finishes and a screen that takes up the majority of the front. We're rather smitten with it. But of course this is just an artist's interpretation of the rumours for now, so we can't say for sure if the final product will bear any resemblance.
Nokia 8 hardware specs
- 2560 x 1440 pixel display, 5.5-inches
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 6GB RAM
The details are rather unsubstantial at the moment and there's little that can be independently verified when it comes to hardware specs.
There's a possibility that the P1 will come in different sizes, although a rumoured 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 resolution display will put this device in flagship contention.
We would hope for all the convenience features like USB Type-C, microSD card support and hardware powerful enough to take advantage of some of Nokia's other interests, like VR. With Google's new Daydream VR platform due to launch later in 2016, we hope that Nokia will be jumping on board too.
Nokia 8 camera
- 23 or 24-megapixel camera
- Zeiss optics
Currently there's little word on what to expect from the cameras on forthcoming-Nokia devices - except passing mention of a 22.6-megapixel camera and that the Nokia 8 would have an advanced camera. This rumour has since been repeated in the form of a 23-megapixel camera, likely to be the Sony hardware launched in the Xperia Z5.
Nokia's Symbian swansong before the whole Microsoft thing was the 808 PureView. In some ways this was demonstrative of everything that was going wrong at Nokia, presenting a slightly under-specced phone that was too expensive, sitting on an operating system that lacked the consumer ease of the iPhone and the maturing Android (we're talking 2012, remember the burning platform?)
But it gave us the 41-megapixel PureView camera and that trumped everything else around at the time. PureView, with Zeiss lenses, continued into the Lumia line and the next big hit was the Lumia 1020 (pictured above) again punching hard with the camera in 2013.
The smartphone camera game has changed in the last few years, but there's still a lot to play for. Camera performance still gets top billing from all manufacturers so there's everything to play for.
The leaked images that could just be a Qualcomm reference device have raised interest in the bump of the camera - admittedly a little like some previous Lumia designs - and the inclusion of HRM written on it. We suspect this is a heart rate monitor, rather like Samsung has on its devices.
Nokia 8 software
- Android Nougat
- Nokia customisations
Despite jumping off the Symbian train and falling into the Windows Phone quagmire, one of the details that Nokia has publicly confirmed is that it's working on Android devices.
Nokia released a launcher for Android called Z Launcher, a launcher that would let you scribble to find apps to save you digging into the apps tray to get what you want. It's suspected that some adaption of Z Launcher will front the Nokia Android experience, but so far there's no information to go on at all - not even for Nokia 6.
Nokia 8 release date
- Confirmed for H1 2017
- Launch event on 26 February
- HMD has a stand at MWC 2017
With much of the Nokia 8 story (including the name) being little more than speculation, one thing we know for sure is that Nokia is planning on announcing more on 26 February, the day before Mobile World Congress officially opens. That's likely to be an opportunity to show off the Nokia 6, perhaps release a global edition, as well as launch a flagship - the Nokia 8 or P1.
We'll keep our eyes peeled for rumours and update you when we know more.