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?
The prevailing trend for Android flagships over the past year has been super-tall, 18:9 (or thereabouts) displays that dominate the front of the handset - many of which have lately sported an iPhone X-like notch at the top.
In fact, the lower-end Nokia X6 (available in China) has exactly that kind of design. And rumours suggest that the Nokia 9 will also go that route, with a screen-dominating front featuring a small notch at the top and a slim chin at the bottom. This render above, from NokiaPowerUser, is based on a source's "information and his own imagination." So take it with a grain of salt for now.
A purported press booklet leaked in April suggested a "combination of ceramic and gold," with a "ceramic back plate and 18-karat gold finish," as well as a design that is "luxuriously weighted to balance perfectly in your hand." It also suggests IP68 water and dust resistance.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco looked a bit behind the times, aping the Galaxy S7 Plus while appearing very awkward and boxy in the process, so hopefully the Nokia 9 goes for something a bit more sleek and modern.
What you're seeing below (and up top) is a new speculative render prepared by leaker Ben Geskin, based on recent leak and reports. The notched face isn't too far off the render above, but obviously there's a fair bit happening there in the back. More on that a couple of sections down...
The unofficial render above looks great, as did this year's Nokia 7 Plus, so hopefully that's the kind of route Nokia is going here - and not the one seen with the Nokia 8 Sirocco.
And then there's this. Case renders that appeared on Amazon (via Nokia Power User) show what's claimed to be the Nokia 9, which has the same five-camera backing that we've seen in other renders (like below) but a much different front.
The front face here is pretty plain-looking, with big bezels and no notch. It doesn't quite seem to match the level of allure that we'd expect from a new flagship phone, but we'll have to wait and see how it shakes out.
If we had to choose between the designs here, we'd go with the one with the notch and the slim bezels. But right now, there's no definitive clue on which will prevail (if any).
What about the Nokia 9's screen?
Rumours suggest a big, notched screen for the Nokia 9. That aforementioned booklet suggests a 6.01in AMOLED display at QHD+ resolution, meaning it ought to be super sharp with fantastic contrast.
If true, that should help the Nokia 9 compete with the best of the best on the market today, which still comes from Samsung - the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus.
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.
In-display fingerprint sensors are still pretty new, so we're not totally sold there - but if this is going to be a super-pricey, super high-end phone, then we definitely expect a QHD+ panel in the mix.
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.