Under new owner HMD, the Nokia brand came back to life in 2017 with a handful of Android-powered smartphones – but only one of them, the mid-range Nokia 6, was really worth considering.
They've had a bit more luck so far in 2018, with the second-gen Nokia 6 and the stylish mid-range Nokia 7 Plus (shown below), but Nokia's next big handset might be the true flagship stunner to boost the brand to new heights. It's reportedly called the Nokia 9, and it could pack some high-end surprises.
Rumours suggest that we'll see the Nokia 9 very soon, and we have a fair idea of what to expect from the new Nokia's most significant and surely priciest handset to date. Here's everything that we've heard so far.
When will the Nokia 9 be out?
We heard rumours that the Nokia 9 would debut much earlier in the year, but that never came to pass. Now, however, the rumour mill is churning once again.
What's the latest? Reports recently pointed to a possible debut at IFA 2018 at the end of August, but that didn't happen. Instead, the company revealed the Nokia 5.1 Plus and Nokia 6.1 Plus - not the glossy flagship devices we had hoped for. Still, with renewed leaks and chatter, a debut in the near future still seems likely... although other announcements, including the Nokia 8.1, have come and gone in the time since.
Blogger Roland Quandt tweeted on 1 October that he believes that the phone will be called the Nokia 9 PureView. HMD Global recently acquired the old Nokia PureView branding back from Microsoft, and given the reported camera prowess of the handset, it would make sense to put that kind of emphasis in the name.
In early December, Quandt filed a report at WinFuture claiming that HMD Global German marketing executive Britta Gerbracht suggested that quality issues were responsible for delays. "So far, the quality of the camera has not yet reached the necessary level, which is why HMD Global [has] so far refrained from a market launch," he wrote. Gerbracht is not directly quoted, but the report suggests that the Nokia 9 branding was directly mentioned during the conversation.
Sounds like we won't see the Nokia 9 until 2019. Maybe HMD Global will try to launch it opposite the Samsung Galaxy S10.
How much will the Nokia 9 cost?
Earlier rumours suggested an upper mid-range, OnePlus-like device and price, but with more recent leaks pointing to a true high-end flagship and some serious perks, we might be looking at a truly pricey handset.
Given how Nokia priced its other high-end phone this year, the Nokia 9 will surely land near the top of the price scale.
What will the Nokia 9 look like?
Earlier rumours and leaks suggested that the Nokia 9 would feature a super-tall screen with a notch, following the prevailing Android trends of the past year. But that idea has since faded.
Instead, the latest leaks point to an older smartphone trend: a whole bunch of bezel. Actually, the speculative renders and purported leaks point to a front-facing design that resembles the standard Google Pixel 3, with bezel all around a rounded rectangle screen.
It looks fully flat on the front, while the back is a bit curvier… and has quite a bit of camera action on the back, as you'll learn more about shortly.
What you're seeing above is a leaked image from Evan Blass, whose track record with leaking smartphones over the years has us convinced that it's the real deal. What's more, this image almost perfectly matches the renders based on purportedly leaked CAD data that were made in the prior weeks.
The bezel-heavy look isn't the most premium around, but notch-haters will dig it if true.
What about the Nokia 9's screen?
A more recent report from WinFuture, released in June 2018, suggests that the Nokia 9 will also pack in a fingerprint sensor in the display, following the bubbling trend seen with some other new handsets. If true, it could end up being the most notable phone to date to pack in the tech, although both the incoming Huawei Mate 20 and OnePlus 6T are also rumoured to do much the same.
This purported leaked photo of the Nokia 9, posted to Slashleaks, matches the speculative renders well and shows a good idea of what to expect from the handset.
This all sounds right to us for a top-end flagship phone in 2019.
How much power will the Nokia 9 pack?
The Nokia 9 will reportedly keep up with the top of the Android pack when it comes to power, using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip for speedy, high-end performance.
We've heard both 6GB and 8GB RAM mentioned in various reports, and it's unclear whether that tally just hasn't been pinned down yet or if we'll see multiple configurations.
Likewise, both 128GB and 256GB internal storage have been mentioned, but we'll have to wait and see what the final device carries - and if there are multiple options to choose from.
Not putting a Snapdragon 845 into a new top-end flagship would be a mistake, given all of the other phones on the market today. This seems like a no-brainer.
What kind of cameras will the Nokia 9 have?
Nokia once led the pack when it came to smartphone cameras, but that was ages and multiple owners ago. Today, it's all about Huawei's industry-leading, triple-camera P20 Pro setup.
But what if Nokia went even crazier with the Nokia 9? We heard a rumour a couple months back about a purported penta-camera approach, packing in five cameras on the back, but it seemed completely absurd. But look above and you'll see a supposed Nokia 9 leak (via IT Home) with five – count 'em, five – cameras on the back, along with the flash and sensors.
Interesting, Phone Arena notes that the handset pictured has already been certified for use in China as of May, so it's either legit… or someone's using the identifying info from another handset to try and sell this as being real.
As far-fetched as a penta-camera setup sounds, we'd love to see Nokia reclaim some of its old spunk and shock the world with fresh ideas again. Bring it on.
Is there anything else I should know about the Nokia 9?
That leaked booklet mentions a huge 3,900mAh battery pack, which is just a smidge below the 4,000mAh cell in the Huawei P20 Pro. It also notes wireless charging in the mix.
The WinFuture report also mentions that the Nokia 9 will run Android 9 Pie, joining a growing number of handsets to ship with the updated OS.
What you're looking at above is reportedly a case leak found by SlashLeaks, showcasing another hint of the penta-camera setup on the back. Is it legitimate? We don't know, but the rumours keep building...
A one-of-a-kind camera, huge battery, dazzling design, top-of-the-line display, and loads of power? Sounds like of a heck of a flagship, if true - but that's a big "if" right now. In any case, we're certainly excited to see what happens... and hopefully it'll debut soon.