In its latest incarnation, under HMD Global, Nokia is betting big on Android. The company has announced and launched a variety of Android devices targeting the mid-range segment. It is also planning to target the premium segment with the Nokia 8 and Nokia 9 smartphones. Though the Finnish company has not confirmed anything about these next-gen flagship phones, the rumor mill has already been churning out details about them.
Dual-camera system, bezel-less display
HMD Global, which has the exclusive license to make Nokia-branded phones, is looking to take on the iPhone 8 and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 with Nokia 8 and Nokia 9 in the high-end segment. Now Nokia Power User has obtained design sketches of both the premium devices from a tipster. Both the phones were previously rumored to be announced at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February, but we only saw low- and mid-rage products from Nokia at the event.
The design sketches show that the Nokia 9 has small bezels and no physical home button. The home button, along with the fingerprint scanner, has been relocated to the rear panel. It sits right below the dual-camera system. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 also has its fingerprint sensor on the back panel. Interestingly, the dual-camera setup is placed vertically rather than horizontally.
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The Nokia 8 will be slightly more affordable than Nokia 9. The sketches suggest that Nokia 8 will have bigger top and bottom bezels than Nokia 9. This device also has a dual-camera system on the back panel. The home button and fingerprint sensor will be placed on the front. Both the Nokia 9 and 8 have rectangular form factors.
Rumors about the flagship Nokia devices are still in the early days. There is no way at this point to prove whether the design sketches are legitimate.
Nokia 9 rumored specs
The flagship Nokia 9 is rumored to feature a 5.5-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. According to Nokia Power User, it will have an aspect ratio of 18:9, which has been somewhat of a trend this year. Though the standard aspect ratio is 16:9, LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 have opted for the bigger ratio.
Rumors suggest the Nokia 9 would sport 6GB RAM, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, and 128GB of built-in storage. Snapdragon 835 is the same processor that powers the Galaxy S8. It is more powerful and energy-efficient than the Snapdragon 821, which is used in LG G6. The phone is said to come with a huge 3800mAh battery and Quick Charge 4.0 technology.
The Nokia 9 is expected to feature an impressive 22-megapixel dual-camera system on the back. The front camera is said to be 12-megapixel. Last month, details leaked on Chinese site Baidu indicated that Carl Zeiss would supply camera lenses for the Nokia 8 and 9 both. Among other things, Nokia 9 is expected to feature an iris scanner, and IP68 water- and dust-resistant capabilities. It would run Android Nougat out of the box.
In a previous report, Nokia Power User claimed Nokia 9 would feature the OZO audio technology. OZO is a software-based audio system that can enable a smartphone to record 3D audio and spatial sound. It requires a smartphone to have at least two microphones.
Nokia 8 features and specs
This phone is said to have a 5.7-inch Quad HD display. Unlike Nokia 9, the Nokia 8 will stick to the standard 16:9 aspect ratio. The device is expected to come with 22-megapixel OIS + EIS main camera and a 12MP front shooter. The Nokia 8 will also use Carl Zeiss lenses for its cameras, according to a recent leak. It is expected to feature 64GB or 128GB of built-in storage, a microSD card slot, and 6GB RAM.
Nokia 8 would come with Android Nougat pre-installed. While some reports claim the phone would be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 chipset, more recent rumors point to the use of Snapdragon 835 processor. Snapdragon 660 could power the mid-range Nokia 7.
HMD Global prefers to use stock Android
What sets Google Nexus and Pixel apart from other Android devices is that they use stock Android operating system. As a result, these devices get faster updates. Other Android vendors add a custom skin on top of the Android. HMD Global is working with Google and Foxconn to use the stock Android on Nokia-branded devices and push out faster updates and security patches.
The current Nokia handsets including Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6 come with a clean version of Android. If HMD Global figures out a way to release updates and patches in a timely manner, it would set Nokia apart from rivals. No other Android vendor gets the updates out in a timely manner.
Price and release date
HMD Global has not confirmed anything about the upcoming flagship smartphones, but sources familiar with the matter told Nokia Power User that the Nokia 8 and 9 could be unveiled in July/August. The devices would hit the store shelves by the end of the third quarter.
NPU added that Nokia 9 would be priced at approximately $699 in the US and EUR 749 in European markets. The device would cost INR 44,999 in India. Nokia 8 will be cheaper than Nokia 9.