Nokia announced three Android handsets at Mobile World Congress 2017, marking the company's return to smartphones. It also announced the new Nokia 3310, a retro play that appears to be more of a marketing stunt than anything else.
Missing from this line-up of devices is anything that breaks out of the affordable end of the market. The Nokia 6 offers premium design, but in many cases the specs don't climb out of the end of the market that's entry- or mid-range.
Prior to the launch of the Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3, there were plenty of rumours of a high-end device, a device that's now being called the Nokia 8. We've been keeping track of all the details of Nokia's new flagship Android smartphone.
Nokia 8, Nokia 9 or Nokia P1: The name
- Formerly Nokia P1
- Now known as Nokia 8
- Has been called Nokia 9
Nokia has done a good job on keeping its device names quiet. Rumours originally focused on the D1C and the P1, with the thinking that the D1C become the Nokia 6. The Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 didn't feature in rumours, but that could be because lower tier phones are often ignored, while flagship phones are often over inflated by expectation.
The name Nokia 8 first came from a leak claiming to be the forthcoming handset, but it was firmly rebuked by Qualcomm, who said this was just a Snapdragon prototype. But the Nokia 8 name stuck. Nokia Power User then obtained information from an unnamed source, which referred to the new flagship as the Nokia 9, while another Nokia Power User post said the Nokia 8 will in-fact be a premium, mid-range device instead.
Both names have stuck, but more recently we've seen the leak of what's reported to be marketing material for the Nokia 8, so many predict that Nokia 8 will be the go-to-market name for Nokia's flagship phone.
Nokia 8 design
- IP68 protection suggested
- Metal build rumoured
- Small bezel design
In terms of design, it's said that the Nokia flagship phone will offer a premium metal design. In terms of details, apart from metal, there's been talk of IP68 water and dust protection in the Nokia 8 flagship device.
All the Nokia Android phones so far have started life as a block of 6000 series aluminium, so we'd expect a flagship to be exactly the same to maintain the same story about quality that HMD Global - the company making the new Nokia phones - has been telling. Some of the early rumours about Nokia 8 were based on Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 shell leaks, so there's currently very little to go on when it comes to design.
There's also a rumour that the Nokia flagship will come in two sizes with similar specs, taking a similar approach to Apple, Huawei and Samsung, which have lead to the Nokia 8 and Nokia 9 naming confusion, but that speculation seems to be less well founded, with recent leaks focusing on the one device.
Additionally, the surfacing of what's said to be "marketing material" displaying a phone that's being assigned the number "8" show a different design. Again, it's of questionable legitimacy and doesn't look like consumer facing marking, but more like draft plans and nothing like the phone leaks we've seen elsewhere.
Nokia 8 hardware specs
- 2560 x 1440 pixel display
- 5.5-inch display, could be two sizes, perhaps a 5.3-inch
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
- 4 or 6GB RAM
There's a possibility that the Nokia 8 will come in different sizes, although a rumoured 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 resolution display will put this device in flagship contention, perhaps joined by a 5.3-incher, which is the size reported by Evan Blass. The existence of two different sizes has been suggested a number of times but we're still lacking clarity on what size it will settle on.
The Nokia 8 will likely opt for something powerful under the hood like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, a new chipset for 2017, and that's a rumour that's already appeared, backed by 6GB of RAM. This rumour continues, and Snapdragon 835 is now par for the course.
There's talk of different RAM quantities too and there's some logic there perhaps: when launching the Nokia 5, the company said it didn't need 3GB of RAM because of the size (unlike the Nokia 6). The Nokia 6 has 3GB RAM, but the Nokia 6 Arte Edition has 4GB of RAM, so we can already see a trend of fluctuating the RAM around devices.
Nokia's current Android devices all feature Micro-USB, but most other recent launches have moved to USB Type-C and there's no word on what the Nokia 8 might feature.
The existing Nokia Android phones also all offer microSD card slots, so we'd imagine that convenience feature will be on the Nokia 8 too, perhaps with dual SIM as standard too. However, the unnamed source that leaked the supposed full specs of the new flagship, didn't mention a microSD card slot at all, and also claimed the battery would be non-removable.
Nokia 8 camera
- Dual 13-megapixel camera
- Zeiss optics pretty certain
There's a passing mention of a 22.6-megapixel camera early on in Nokia 8 rumours, however this rumour has since been repeated in the form of a 23-megapixel camera. That might have just been a Nokia fan wishlist, as the latest leaks sound a lot more convincing: a dual 13-megapixel camera.
HMD Global and Zeiss have confirmed their partnership to bring Zeiss camera technology to future smartphones from Nokia and we suspect the confirmation of this on 6 July 2017 was timed to bring talk of a future Nokia flagship back into focus. You can read more about the new partnership with Zeiss here, but the Zeiss branding appears on the leaked Blass image.
There's currently no telling what the setup of the dual cameras might be - whether it's capturing depth data, offering a zoom or wide angle lens or whatever. There's currently a range of options available on rival devices and at the moment we've heard nothing on what advancements HMD plan to bring to this Nokia phone.
Nokia 8 software
- Pure Android Nougat
- Camera improvements
One of the underlying themes of the new Nokia phones is that they all run pure Android Nougat, with Google Assistant. Nokia was keen to point this out and Google was keen to say how happy the were that Nokia was doing this. They even made a special pin badge to celebrate.
On the Nokia 6, 5 and 3, the only change from stock Android is the tweaked camera. There's no bloatware, no pre-installed apps or anything else. We'd expect the Nokia 8 to be exactly the same and the new deal with Zeiss has said that software is part of the camera experience that will be offered, so we'd expect quite a few changes there.
Nokia 8 release date and price
- 31 July 2017 launch date suggested
- Q3 2017 suggested
With Nokia launching three handsets already in 2017, all due for launch in July and August, there are few rumours around about when to expect a flagship device launch.
Original rumours fell into line with the rest of the Snapdragon 835 rumours, suggesting June, although that's obviously not happened. There's also a price of 4000 yuan for the smaller handset and 4500 yuan against the larger, but we're not even sure that multiple devices will launch.
An unnamed source told Nokia Power User that the Nokia 8 will be released in Q3 of 2017, perhaps July or August, with an asking price of €749/$699, although more recently the Nokia 8 release date has been pinned on 31 July 2017, with a price of under €600.
A device from HMD Global has passed through the FCC. There's very little detail, but this could be the Nokia 8 getting certification, but currently the release date is very uncertain.
We'll keep our eyes peeled for rumours and update you when we know more.