It’s no longer new that Nokia smartphones are set for a comeback in 2017. Below we talk about all you need to know about Nokia Android phones release date, specs and price
In December, we heard official word that new Nokia android phones were in development, and that they would run on Google’s Android OS. This is a big deal, because it’s been quite a while since we saw authentic Nokia phones.
Nokia started making portable phones in 1987, and became the best-selling handset brand by 1998. But despite strong beginnings, it wasn’t long before Nokia slumped. In 2011, after a sales slump caused by competition from Android and the iPhone, Nokia signed its own death warrant by agreeing a pact with Microsoft to ship all its phones on the ailing Windows Phone OS. Nokia eventually stopped making phones in 2014, selling its mobile business to Microsoft and switching focus to mobile network equipment.
Microsoft sold phones under Nokia’s Lumia brand for a while, but that’s basically been killed off now – cue the new Surface Phone, expected 2017. Microsoft’s ownership of the Nokia brand license eventually expired this year, and that’s why we’re now about to see new Nokia handsets – stay tuned. Unfortunately, it’s still early days, so many of the actual hardware details are a mystery. Here’s what we know so far.
LATEST NOKIA ANDROID PHONES NEWS
The good news is that the first new Nokia Android phones will be released “in the first half of 2017”. That’s not very specific, but we can take a guess at when the handsets might launch. The first major opportunity is CES 2017, the big Las Vegas-based technology tradeshow that takes place in January each year. However, we’re not entirely convinced the Nokia Android phones will be ready for launch that early.
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The next big chance is Mobile World Congress, a similar tradeshow that’s focused on mobile technology. That kicks off in Barcelona on February 27, and is sure to be a hotbed of smartphone launches. There’s no reason why a new Nokia smartphone couldn’t debut at the show. Alternatively, the new Nokia phones could get their own dedicated launch event, bypassing trade shows altogether.
BUT THE HANDSETS AREN’T BEING BUILT BY NOKIA
It’s very important to note that Nokia isn’t actually building the handsets.
After Microsoft’s ownership of the Nokia brand license expired, new Finland-based Company HMD Global secured rights to the brand. HMD has exclusive rights for the next decade, which means no other company will be able to launch Nokia-branded handsets during that time.
On the software front, HMD has partnered up with Google so the new phones will run on Android. And although HMD will design the hardware, the actual handset will be built by FIH Mobile Limited, a subsidiary of Foxconn – one of the companies that builds the iPhone.
NOKIA IS STILL VERY MUCH INVOLVED
Just because Nokia isn’t building the phones doesn’t mean it’s not involved. Nokia will have a representative on HMD’s board of members, and will set performance and brand requirements – as per the licensing agreement. Nokia will also receive royalty payments for the use of its patents, and will let HMD use its research and development properties.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown around the world for the return of the Nokia brand to smartphones,” said Brad Rodrigues, Interim President of Nokia Technologies. “The HMD Global team has the ambition, talent and resources to bring a new generation of Nokia-branded phones to market, and we wish them every success. I’m sure our millions of Nokia fans will be excited to see their new products!”
But perhaps most importantly, HMD Global Oy is comprised almost entirely of former Nokia staffers. For instance, CEO Arto Nummela, Chief Product Officer Juho Sarvikas, and President of HMD Global Florian Seiche all previously held senior positions at Nokia. So while Nokia isn’t technically building the new phones, it still sort of is.WE DON’T
HAVE A NAME…BUT THERE ARE SOME CODENAMES
What will the new phones be called? Well, we’re guessing not Lumia – but nothing is guaranteed at this early stage.
Online rumours so far seem to suggest there’ll be two devices. One is a mid-range handset reportedly codenamed ‘D1C’, while the other – dubbed ‘P1’ – is expected to be a high-end flagship device.
FEATURES, SPECS AND DESIGN? WE’VE GOT SOME CLUES…
Hardware is still largely a mystery at this point, but HMD CEO Arto Nummela did drop some hints in a recent interview with the Economic Times of India. He said: “It will be premium quality [and a] design that people will immediately recognise as Nokia.”
Nummela added the phone would be “extremely competitive in terms of the specifications and price”, and that specs wouldn’t be a focus, saying: “We’re not going to be highlighting the megapixels or gigahertz.”
He also offered up some opaque hints like: “We can take a human aspect on technology,” and “Stability, quality, reliability, and then we’re bringing in innovation where it matters most for [the] consumer, and removing the clutter.” Does that mean no bloatware? Here’s hoping.
If we had to take a guess though, we’d expect a flagship smartphone launching in the first half of 2017 to be running Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 chipset. But that’s all we can guess at, for now.
ANDROID GUARANTEED – BUT WHICH VERSION?
As we mentioned earlier, HMD Global Oy has teamed up with Google to launch the new smartphones with Android. That’s a welcome change from the old Windows Phone-powered Nokia handsets of yore.
However, it’s not quite clear what operating system the phones will run on. The most likely bet is Android 7.0 Nougat, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system. It rolled out this autumn, and is likely to appear on many of the handsets launching in the first half of 2017 – Nokia Android phones included.
But there are two other alternatives: Android 6.0 Marshmallow, or the currently unannounced Android 8.0. We’d say the former is unlikely, but it could feature if HMD has already developed the phones and plans to release them very early on in 2017. Alternatively, if the handsets miss their 1H2017 deadline, we could see them running on Android 8.0, which we’re expecting to be announced between May and July next year. If you have been a Nokia smartphones faithful before, will you rock a Nokia android phones come 2017?