In 2015, after a massive business failure with Microsoft, Nokia implied that it is coming back to phone business through a licensing strategy. Fast forward to May of 2016, the partnership between the company and the Finnish startup HMD Global was made public. And in less than a year, the brand is back to business.
Now, a year after the first Android Nokia smartphones debut at MWC in Barcelona, HMD launched the next-generation of Nokia devices at the exact same place. Joining the event is Jamie Rosenberg, VP for Android and Google Play, who acknowledge the beauty of the Nokia handsets.
“The HMD Global team, their philosophy for what makes for a great smartphone experience was very aligned with ours,” said Rosenberg. “At Google, we believe in products that are beautifully designed. That is smart, intuitive, and secure. We believe in products that get better over time and adapt to your needs. Not the other way around.”
Three of the new Nokia Android devices will be branded as Android One, including the high-end Nokia 8 Sirocco. The first flagship Android One device ever.
According to Rosenberg, Google and HMD are in deep partnership calling HMD’s Android One initiative as “the largest collaboration with Android One yet.” He also promised that the new Android One Nokia smartphones will automatically get access to “Android P” whenever it becomes available.
Here’s our detailed full coverage of the event.
Revived Nokia 8810 4G has built-in Google Assistant
Another classic Nokia phone made a surprise appearance at the MWC 2018 yesterday. The Nokia 8110, best remembered for its appearance in Keanu Reeves movie “The Matrix”, is coming back to the market later this year as a retro classic. Now called as Nokia 8110 4G, the phone will be joining the list of re-imagined classic Nokia phone in the lineup dubbed as the “Originals” family.
The Nokia 8110 4G will come with 2.45-inch QVGA display and will be powered by dual-core Snapdragon 205 chipset paired with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of ROM. At the back is a 2-megapixel camera with LED flash, similar to that of the Nokia 3310. As the name implies, the Nokia 8110 4G will support both 3G and 4G networks and will feature WiFi connectivity, portable hotspot, and GPS. The phone will pack a 1500mAh of battery with a promise of up to 25 days standby time given no background apps running.
What sets it apart from the Nokia 3310 though (or any other feature phones in general) is its support for the Google apps. The Nokia 8110 4G will be able to run Google apps such as Google Maps, and Google Search, and it has built-in access to the Google Assistant. It also has its own app store, so you can always download Facebook, Twitter and many other apps of your choice.
The Nokia 8110 4G will be available in two colors, Black and Banana Yellow, and will hit stores starting in May for only $97 USD.
Nokia 1, the low-cost Android smartphone with Xpress-On covers
The most humble of all the new releases, the Nokia 1, is certainly not a wishlist-worthy smartphone and it’s not pretending to be one. The device is HMD’s first take on Android Go, a featherlight version of Android optimized for the low-cost hardware. However, this isn’t the main selling point of the device, it is its replaceable, fully customizable backplate.
Earlier this month, HMD Global transferred the “Xpress-On” trademark under its intellectual property following the renewal of the “Asha” brand. Now it’s clear that the “Xpress-On” will again be used for custom covers.
The Nokia 1 will come with 4.5-inch FWVGA IPS LCD display and will be powered by quad-core MediaTek MT6737M chipset, paired with 1GB LPPDDR3 RAM and 8GB of internal storage. It runs Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition) out of the box, with the same promise of a secure and up-to-date OS. For the imaging, the Nokia 1 has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, paired with 2-megapixel selfie camera. The phone will pack a decent 2150mAh of removable battery but is also an IP52 (drip protection) compliant.
The Nokia 1 will be available in Warm Red and Dark Blue color options. It will hit stores starting this April with a slightly lower price tag than Nokia 8110 4G at only $85 USD.
Nokia 6 (2018) gets Zeiss makeover
One of the biggest gripes from last year’s Nokia 6, is its disappointing camera performance, in addition to its mediocre processor. Now, for the next iteration of the device, HMD has created a framework out of these complaints to build a seemingly perfect mid-tier handset. If you own the Nokia 6 (2017), I tell you, now is the time to make an upgrade.
The Nokia 6 (2018) didn’t just get a physical makeover, it is rebuilt from inside out. The device will come with 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD display, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. One of the biggest improvements though is the processor. The Nokia 6 is now being powered by octa-core Snapdragon 630 paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of ROM. The device now supports Qualcomm Quick Charge and features Qi Wireless Charging.
Thanks to the implementation of Nokia OZO Audio, the Nokia 6 is now capable of capturing spatial audio. This has been an exclusive feature for the Nokia 8 and Nokia 7. But as HMD trying to bridge the gaps between mid to high-end phones, we might get to see more high-end features on the next mid-tier Nokia phones in the future.
Another welcome addition is the Zeiss optics at its 16-megapixel f/2.0 primary camera. Zeiss has been the greatest strength of the Nokia devices ever since it starts investing in imaging. And it’s good to see the new generation Zeiss optics not being completely exclusive to higher-end Nokia models. The front though only features a regular 8-megapixel autofocus camera, but I believe that would be enough to suffice the selfie needs. Thanks to the use of Snapdragon 630, the Nokia 6 can now record video up to 4K. There is also support for Dual Sight or Bothie mode, which lets you record simultaneously on both front and rear cameras.
The Nokia 6 (2018) is also one of the first Nokia devices to feature Pro Camera mode which features the same radial sliders found on Lumia devices. You can now manually adjust White Balance, Exposure, Shutter Speed, ISO, and Focus. Unfortunately, the Pro Camera is only exclusive to Nokia phones with Zeiss optics.
The Nokia 6 (2018) will be available in Blue/Gold, Black/Copper, and White/Iron color options.
Nokia 7 Plus, flagship features on mid-tier smartphone
The Nokia 7 Plus is my favorite among the list. It retains almost all the features found on the high-end Nokia 8 Sirocco, except that it’s a midrange device.
The Nokia 7 Plus is machined from a single block of aluminum, finished with 6-layers of the ceramic coating. The result is a beautiful, well-crafted handset defining the true Nokia craftsmanship.
The Nokia 7 Plus sports a 6-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD display with 18:9 aspect ratio, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The device is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Like the new Nokia 6, the device now supports Qualcomm Quick Charge and Qi Wireless Charging.
For the imaging, the Nokia 7 Plus is employed with dual Zeiss cameras at the back, capable of up to 2x optical zoom. Even the 16-megapixel front camera is now equipped with Zeiss optics. HMD claims that the three AI-powered cameras on the Nokia 7 Plus have an “ultra-sensitive sensor”, which means it can excel in both lowlight and well-lit conditions. The technology works by merging neighboring pixels to work as one to increase light sensitivity.
The Snapdragon 660 on the Nokia 7 Plus is equipped with 14-bit Qualcomm Spectra™ 160 ISP (Image Signal Processor), a co-processor that accelerates on-device processing. This allows zero shutter lag, smooth zooming, and faster autofocus.
The Nokia 7 Plus also supports 4K video capture, Dual Sight mode, and Nokia OZO Audio Recording. Aside from the Pro Camera mode, the new camera app also now features studio lighting, portrait mode and live AR filters similar to that of Snapchat.
The Nokia 7 Plus will be available in Black/Copper and White/Copper color options.
Nokia 8 Sirocco, the redefined Nokia 8
Weeks ahead of MWC, an alleged Nokia 8 Sirocco was spotted in an HMD Global event in Jakarta, Indonesia. According to the report, the device has a curved display and glass backplate, but it couldn’t be mistaken as the Samsung Galaxy S8/Note 8 as the camera placement is vertically configured.
Meet the Nokia 8 Sirocco, the world’s first high-end Android One smartphone. The device is crafted from a single block of stainless steel, reinforced with vacuum moulded Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco features a 5.5-inch curved QHD pOLED display, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The edge of the display is only less than 2mm thick away from the edge of the 3D glass backplate, giving an impression of a wraparound display. The device is powered by last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, paired with 6GB LPPDDR 4X RAM and 128GB USF2.1 internal storage. The device will pack a 3260mAh of battery with support for Qualcomm Quick Charge and Qi Wireless Charging. The Nokia 8 Sirocco is also IP67 compliant.
For the imaging, the Nokia 8 Sirocco will have three AI-powered Zeiss cameras, with ultra-sensitive sensors. The rear features a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, paired with a 13-megapixel telephoto lens capable of up to 2x optical zoom. On the front is a 5-megapixel camera for the selfie needs.
HMD employed three high-dynamic range microphones on the Nokia 8 Sirocco to enable real Nokia OZO Audio Recording experience. Like the Nokia 7 Plus, the Nokia 8 Sirocco will have a built-in Pro Camera, with added features such as studio lighting, live Bokeh (portrait mode), and live AR filters.
The device will only be available in Black color.