Nokia’s return to the mobile space is now under way with the Nokia 6. But this is just the beginning…
This year, 2017, is the year when Nokia returns to the smartphone space. Will it be a triumphant return? We hope so, and there’s every reason to belive it could be given Nokia’s history in the space. On top of that, the Nokia 6 has now hit the market, though is currently an exclusive to China, but it is selling like the proverbial hotcakes; pre-orders were through the roof, and the handset has literally sold out in minutes. Clearly interest and demand in Nokia Android devices is sky high.
Nokia’s deal with Microsoft has now expired, so the firm can once again launch its own devices with its own branding onboard.
It won’t be Lumia or Windows Phone any more, nope, what we’re looking at is Android all the way. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Nokia is BACK!
Nokia & HMD: What’s The Deal?
While Microsoft might be gone, Nokia isn’t without partners in this endeavour, although partner isn’t exactly the right word. Nokia is now OWNED by HMD, another Finnish company. But who are HMD?
Here’s how the company describes itself in its official marketing materials:
“Nokia is known around the world for its history of innovation, including in mobile phones. As the new home of Nokia phones, HMD will write the next chapter for these products. HMD plans for its future Nokia branded smartphones and tablets to run on the Android operating system, uniting one of the world’s iconic mobile brands with the leading mobile software and app development community.”
On December 1 2016, HMD Global has issued a press release on the subject of its plans with Nokia in 2017. Amongst the details there is confirmation of new handsets arriving next year. The company stated that “new Nokia smartphones on Android operating system [will be] available in H1 2017.”
“Today marks a happy and important day for HMD. Nokia has been one of the most iconic and recognisable phone brands globally for decades. The excitement of re-introducing this much-loved, well-known and trusted brand to smartphone consumers is a responsibility and an ambition that everyone at HMD shares.
Driven by the extremely positive reception we have received since HMD was announced earlier this year, we are excited about building the next chapter for Nokia phones. We see this as a brilliant opportunity to solve real life consumer problems and to deliver on the quality and designs that the Nokia brand has been always known for. Our talented and passionate team is uniquely placed in this modern setup to deliver our promise of reliable, beautifully crafted and fun Nokia phones for consumers across the globe.“
- HMD Global enters the market today, to create a new generation of Nokia branded mobile phonesthrough an exclusive 10-year brand licensing agreement
- Effective immediately, HMD will own the existing Nokia branded feature phone business, providing global market reach and scale
- HMD Global leadership team announced; ambition to become significant player in the global smartphone market
- Strategic partnership model with leading industry players and world-class expertise to bring the very best Nokia mobile phone experience to global consumers
The Nokia brand, as rumoured, is returning to the mobile space to make Android-powered smartphones and tablets. The news was confirmed in a press release from the company, which is now owned by HMD, a new company set up to enable the proliferation of Nokia-branded phones and tablets.
Here’s the official line from HMD on what’s happening:
“HMD has been founded to provide a focused, independent home for a full range of Nokia-branded feature phones, smartphones and tablets. To complete its portfolio of Nokia branding rights, HMD announced today that it has conditionally agreed to acquire from Microsoft the rights to use the Nokia brand on feature phones, and certain related design rights. The Microsoft transaction is expected to close in H2 2016. Together these agreements would make HMD the sole global licensee for all types of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. HMD intends to invest over USD 500 million over the next three years to support the global marketing of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, funded via its investors and profits from the acquired feature phone business.”
Nokia will not be investing any money in the project but it will receive royalties and sit on the board of HMD’s directors. Quite a few of Nokia’s old top brass will be returning to the fold as well.
“This agreement will give HMD full operational control of sales, marketing and distribution of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, with exclusive access to the pre-eminent global sales and distribution network to be acquired from Microsoft by FIH, access to FIH’s world-leading device manufacturing, supply chain and engineering capabilities, and to its growing suite of proprietary mobile technologies and components,” said HMD in a press release.
What this means is simple: Nokia WILL return with Android phones and tablets, as well as wearables off the back of its Withings acquisition.
Nokia’s MWC 2017 Plans And Beyond: How Many Phones?
Nokia has confirmed that it will release two Android phones inside early 2017. Previous rumours pointed to a launch during Q4 2016, but this didn’t occur. Nokia will apparently announce the phones at MWC 2017 and a release will follow shortly thereafter.
Nokia is also rumoured to be prepping a MASSIVE Android-powered tablet as well. And when we say massive, we really do mean massive – it’s said to have an 18in display.
The unnamed tablet showed up in benchmarks over the weekend and could well be Nokia’s plot for taking on Apple’s iPad Pro, as well as Microsoft’s Surface line of hybrids and laptops.
There will be at least two phone models: a mid-ranger and a flagship handset. The latter is naturally the one most people are interested in, as it is the phone that will go head-to-head with the likes of Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S8, which will get a release around the same time.
Word on the street suggests the flagship handset will pack in Qualcomm’s brand new and as-yet-unreleased Snapdragon 835 CPU and a whopping 6GB of RAM.
The other handset will also feature the Snapdragon 835, but make do with “only” 4GB of RAM. Carl Zeiss imaging will return on one or both of the handsets will feature a dual-lens camera setup, similar to what we saw on the LG G5 and iPhone 7 Plus earlier on in 2017.
As of January 4 2017, evidence has emerged in the form of a leaked presentation slide. The slide, shown in a photo picked up by NPU, apparently shows that ambitions for Nokia-branded Android devices in 2017 extend to a suite of as many as six or seven handsets. The slideshow was showcased by Malaysian device distributor Avaxx and shows that a “total of 6-7 models will be available by end 2017.”
It adds that “Entry, Mid & High End Smartphones,” will be part of this line-up. Over time it seems, perhaps with more and more positive media coverage, Nokia and HMD’s plans have expanded from initially just a handful of two or three phones, then to five, and now to as many as six or even seven. Of course it’s also possible that all of them were planned, or at least prototyped, all along and it’s only that evidence has emerged gradually.
On January 23 2017, evidence has emerged that there may be a new lower-end Nokia model which is reportedly codenamed “Heart”. The phone rocked up in a set of benchmark results on the GFXBench database; it shows that at its core this is similar to the Nokia 6 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 CPU, however, pretty much ever other spec on the sheet has been downgraded from the Nokia 6’s spec line-up.
It’s still running Android 7.0 Nougat, of course, and packs a 5.2in 720p display panel. The CPU is clocked at 1.4GHz and uses the Adreno 505 GPU and 2GB of RAM. There’s 16GB of onboard storage, a 12MP primary camera and an 8MP secondary. With this lower spec, we’d expect a lower price; it has been rumoured that some new Nokia Android phones will cost as little as $150 and this could be a possible candidate as the Nokia 6 has a slightly higher spec and a $250 price tag in China.
The Nokia E1
One of the forthcoming models is the Nokia E1, a leak on Friday 6 January has revealed the specs for the device; a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 quad-core processor with an Adreno 308 GPU runs the show, along with 2GB RAM and 16GB of onboard storage. The touch display is a 720p setup at either 5.2in or 5.3in, while the cameras are a 13MP primary and a 5MP secondary.
The Nokia 6, meanwhile, leaked on China’s Weibo social network where one lucky tipster managed to get some hands-on time with the device, including photos.
- As mentioned, this phone, model number TA-1000, will only launch in China and is a mid-range model at $250, but features an aluminium metal body which perhaps gives us some indication of how the other devices in the series will look.