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June 14, 2017

Nokia 8/9 flagship Android phone: Release date, rumours and specs

by John_A

Nokia announced three Android handsets at Mobile World Congress 2017, marking the company’s return to smartphones. It also announced the new Nokia 3310.

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. With that device not seeing launch at MWC 2017, we’ve been keeping track of where all the rumours now sit for Nokia’s future flagship.

Nokia 8, Nokia 9 or Nokia P1: The name

  • Formerly Nokia P1
  • Now known as Nokia 8
  • Might be 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. 

In reality, we have no idea exactly what Nokia’s future device will be called.

Additionally, it’s worth pointing out that P1 was never clarified either: it could easily have been the working name for Nokia 5.

  • Nokia 6 preview: A solid start for the new Android Nokia


Nokia 8/9 design

  • IP68 protection suggested
  • Metal build rumoured

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 an unsubstantiated rumour that it will be based on the Sharp Aquos P1 – hence that codename that’s been circulating – but that seem very unlikely: with HMD putting so much work into the entry-level devices, it’s unlikely to rebadge a Sharp phone for the flagship.

There’s also a continuing rumour that the Nokia flagship will come in two sizes with similar specs, taking a similar approach to Apple, Huawei and Samsung.

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 – but it’s just fan art for the time-being.

  • Nokia through the years: 30 best and worst phones, in pictures

Nokia 8/9 hardware specs

  • 2560 x 1440 pixel display
  • 5.5-inch display, could be two sizes
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • 4 or 6GB RAM

There’s a possibility that the Nokia will come in different sizes, although a rumoured 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 resolution display will put this device in flagship contention. The existence of two different sizes has been suggested a number of times, although there may be been confusion caused by the Nokia 6 and Nokia 5.

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, although Snapdragon 835 is turning into the holy grail of chipsets in 2017 and its longer development cycle is thought to be governing the scheduling of a number of devices.

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. 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. It’s possible the Nokia 8 will therefore have a unibody design. 


Nokia 8/9 camera

  • 23 or 24-megapixel camera
  • Zeiss optics?

There’s a passing mention of a 22.6-megapixel camera early on in Nokia rumours, although the rest of the specs are wildly out of touch. However, 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. That has since been replaced by a 19-megapixel sensor in the Xperia XZ Premium, which would appear to be more advanced.

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. PureView is a Microsoft trademark, however, and still appears to be registered to Microsoft.

Aside from the talk of a 23-megapixel sensor, there’s some flip-flapping around Zeiss. Zeiss lenses were a common feature on Nokia phones and as Zeiss still provides plenty of lenses, there’s nothing to stop Nokia exploring this option. When asked on Twitter, Nokia clarified that its current phones don’t have Zeiss lenses, but didn’t go as far as confirming that they will be on future phones.


Nokia 8/9 software

  • Pure Android Nougat 

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.

Nokia 8/9 release date and price

  • June 2017 suggested

With Nokia launching three handsets already in 2017, all due for launch in Q2 2017, there are few rumours around about when to expect a flagship device launch.

However, rumours have fallen into line with the rest of the Snapdragon 835 rumours, suggesting June. There’s also a price of 4000 yuan for the smaller handset and 4500 yuan against the larger, suggesting that this phone might be launched into China first.

An unnamed source has 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.

Perhaps in-keeping with these dates, a device from HMD Global has passed through the FCC. There’s very little detail, but this could be the Nokia 9 getting certification.

We’ll keep our eyes peeled for rumours and update you when we know more.

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