Nokia 8 Family 1“Nokia” phones are continuing their
comeback.
HMD
Global

HMD Global on Wednesday announced the Nokia 8, the first high-end
smartphone the Finnish company has released since it acquired the
rights to the famed Nokia brand last year.

As earlier leaks
suggested
, the Nokia 8 has the usual slate of specs for a
flagship phone in 2017:

  • A Snapdragon 835 chip, the strongest Qualcomm currently
    offers
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 64 GB of storage, with a microSD slot for more space
  • A 5.3-inch display with a sharp 2,560 x 1,440 resolution
  • A decently-sized 3,090 mAh battery, with support for
    Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging standard
  • A pair of 13-megapixel cameras on the back — one has a RGB
    color sensor, the other has a monochrome sensor — with another
    13-megapixel camera on the front

Unfortunately for American buyers anticipating another competitor
in the Android market, HMD says it isn’t planning to release
the Nokia 8 in the US anytime soon. An HMD representative said
penetrating the US market is a “long-term ambition” for the
eight-month-old company, but that it isn’t equipped to compete
there with a high-end phone just yet. To date, the company has
only released one phone with the Nokia branding Stateside:
the Nokia 6, a
budget-level device that is sold exclusively
through Amazon
.

Nokia 8 Polished Blue (4)HMD
Global

For other markets around the world, the device will cost €599 and
start rolling out in early September.

In any case, Nokia 8’s design isn’t likely to turn heads: It’s
clean and entirely coated in aluminum, but it’s not particularly
thin or light, and HMD says it’s only “splashproof,” not
water-resistant. It also has big borders around its display at a
time where more and more of
its peers are
maximizing screen
space
.

The phone may appeal to hardcore Android fans, though: Like the
other Nokia-branded phones HMD has released in recent months, the
Nokia 8 runs a virtually untouched version of Android 7.1.1.

Since there’s less superfluous software in the way, HMD is
promising stronger performance and faster updates than most of
its peers. (A company representative said an update to the
forthcoming Android O
release
is currently “well into development.”) It’s too soon
to say how true those claims will be, but HMD has generally done
well to keep its other recent phones up-to-date with Google’s
monthly security patches.

The big grabby feature HMD is touting with the Nokia 8 is a
camera trick called “Dual-Sight.” In short, the idea is to let
you livestream video from both the front and rear cameras
simultaneously. HMD says you can stream this kind of split-screen
video Facebook or YouTube natively from the camera app itself.
The company is branding these kind of videos as “bothies” (a
variant of “selfie”).

Nokia 8 Steel and Tempered BlueHMD
Global

That’s unfortunate, but the idea is clever, and HMD says it has
boosted the Nokia 8’s mics and antenna system to make the phone
better handle the workload of continuous livestreaming. Still,
the feature will likely have little appeal to those who aren’t
regularly streaming their day-to-day lives.

Perhaps the most relevant thing about the Nokia 8, though, is the
fact that it has “Nokia” in its name. HMD, which is partially led
by past execs from the former mobile phone
giant
, acquired the rights
to use the Nokia name on its phones last year. It has steadily
released a number of smartphones and feature phones in
the months since, all of which are aimed at the more affordable
end of the market.

Nokia, for the record, is still a multibillion dollar company;
it’s just left the consumer phone business after a failed partnership-turned-acquistion with Microsoft
and the rise of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platform. As
a result, there hasn’t been a top-tier smartphone bearing the
Nokia name since 2014.

An HMD representative said its new Nokia phones have been selling
“in the millions,” but the Nokia 8 represents its first real stab
at the premium market. The device should be strong enough to
compete with other high-end peers, and it’s more affordable than
devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8. But whether a few
livestreaming tricks and a nostalgic name are enough to
win over those with deeper pockets remains to be seen.

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