Nokia is back — and it’s back with a vengeance. The Finnish company finally launched its first Android-powered smartphones in 2017, and while the new devices aren’t made by Nokia, they do follow the company’s design guidelines and retain the brand name.
HMD Global manufactures 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.
Here’s everything we know about Nokia’s 2017 Android phones so far.
As far as the phones we do know about, Nokia revealed some release dates and prices for customers in the United Kingdom. The Nokia 3 launched July 12 for 120 British pounds, followed 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. The Nokia 8 will be sold from September with a 600 euro price, or about $704/550 British pounds.
If you’ve been waiting for an Android Nokia phone that embodies the spirit of the brand’s history, the Nokia 8 may be it. It marks the return to mobile photography for lens maker Zeiss, a long-time Nokia partner, and the device has a familiar shape and design to it. It takes the top mobile processor of the moment, the Snapdragon 835, and puts it with 4GB of RAM, a clever cooling system, and a 5.3-inch screen to make a compact but desirable premium smartphone.
Dual 13-megapixel cameras on the rear are built for live-streaming, and provide instant connection to Facebook’s Live platform, and YouTube Live. There’s even a fun feature that lets you use both the front and rear camera at the same time, resulting in photos with two different perspectives on a situation. The Nokia 8 won’t be sold in the United States, but will be released in the U.K. and other European countries in September.
The Nokia 6 is the company’s first Android smartphone, which debuted late last year. It packs some pretty decent specs. The phone’s screen is 5.inches with a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, plus 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and Android 7.0 Nougat. On top of that, the device boasts a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. There’s even Dolby Atmos audio support and a fingerprint sensor.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news — the device comes with a somewhat disappointing Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, but this is to be expected given the phone’s competitive price. The Nokia 6 was first sold in China, the U.K., and parts of Europe. In July, the Nokia 6 arrived in the United States through Amazon, either full-price at $230 or as an ad-supported phone for $180, which operates on the T-Mobile and AT&T networks.
Nokia 5 and Nokia 3
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 metal-bodied 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 as the Nokia 6, but with 2GB of RAM. The rear camera has 13 megapixels, the selfie cam 8 megapixels, plus there is a fingerprint sensor too. The device costs only 190 euros, or about $200.
The Nokia 3 only costs 140 euros, or $165, and is relatively basic; but still has a 5-inch screen and an aluminum-framed body. Android 7.0 Nougat is installed, there’s 16GB of internal storage space, 4G LTE connectivity, and an 8-megapixel camera.
Nokia Android phones still rumored
Nokia may still launch two more phones in 2017. Rumors persist of a Nokia 9 and a Nokia 7. The names give away where the devices will sit in the range, with the Nokia 9 potentially a large screen flagship phone, and the Nokia 7 a less technically impressive version of the Nokia 8.
However, many of the details previously associated with the Nokia 9 now seem to be more representative of the Nokia 8, suggesting it may not exist at all. Earlier in the year, it was rumored Nokia was working on the Nokia 7. According to a report from Nokia Power User back in March, the Nokia 7 will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, 1080p display, and a metallic body.
Built by HMD Global, designed by Nokia
It’s not Nokia at the helm of the new 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.”
Update: The Nokia 8 is official, so we updated the text, and spun off the Nokia 9 rumors into an article all of its own.