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Nokia Smartphone Leak Prompts New Year Return Rumours

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Smartphone shakeup? New sketches suggest new Nokia Android smartphones are set for early 2017 arrival

Two rough sketches of new Nokia smartphones have emerged on a Chinese tech website, amid suggestions that the new handsets could be unveiled at MWC 2017 in February.

The Nokia smartphones running Android, come after HMD Global, the Finnish start-up that officially launched earlier this month, recently introduced two basic mobile handsets, namely the Nokia 150 and Nokia 150 Dual SIM.

The Nokia 150 and Nokia 150 Dual SIM are not smartphones and don’t include Internet access, but feature gadgets such as an FM radio, MP3 player and the classic Snake Xenzia game, as well as a camera with LED flash. The aim with those handsets was to build on the qualities that made Nokia mobile phones a global bestseller in the 1990s – durable build quality, an easy-to-use interface and long battery life.

nokia_150New Smartphones?

But the intention all along was also to offer Android-based Nokia branded smartphones as well, and the image leak has hinted at their possible looks.

The sketches are said to be of two Nokia models, namely the Nokia D1 and E1. According to Gizbot, these Android smartphones could be launched at MWC 2017 in February.

But what do the sketches reveal about the new handsets? Well it seems that Nokia D1 is a bit curvier compared to E1. Also, D1 seems to come with a home button, while E1 would possibly have touch-sensitive keys at the front.

The two phones do look similar, but the front LED flash is positioned slightly differently on each handset. The E1 is expected to be the pricer handset, and indeed seems to have a bigger 5.5-inch display.

The D1 sketch on the other hand suggests a smaller 5 inch full HD display, along with a reported 13-megapixel camera, Snapdragon 430 chipset and 3GB RAM. It is also reported that D1 would have a fingerprint scanner underneath.

Both handsets will reportedly run on Android Nougat with a simple stock interface. The Nokia brand name is positioned on the top right corner, near the front camera and speaker grille.

Nokia smartphones

HMD, the Finnish company behind these phones, has a ten year licensing deal to use the Nokia brand name. It has also previously said it plans to expand into Nokia-branded tablets in the coming year.

Nokia of course based its smartphone range on the Windows Phone operating system, and competed with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android in the smartphone business. But it failed to achieve traction, and Nokia sold its entire handset operation to Microsoft in 2014 to focus on its telecommunications networking equipment business.

In May Microsoft sold the basic Nokia phone manufacturing business to Foxconn, with HMD acquiring the licensing rights to the Nokia brand for phones and tablets.

Microsoft meanwhile has effectively withdrawn from the smartphone business, but rumours of a Microsoft Surface Phone persist, with a possible launch slated for sometime in 2017.

Microsoft also recently revealed it would collaborate with Qualcomm to support Windows 10 on next generation Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.

That deal is highly significant as the Windows operating system has long been anchored to traditional Intel x86 PC processors, forcing Microsoft to develop separate mobile operating systems (i.e Windows Phone) that could run on ARM-based processors.

Now Windows 10 can potentially run on ARM-based processors, which of course are used in most of the smartphones around the world.

Quiz: Do you know all about Nokia?