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Nokia 5G flagship is coming in November according to HMD Global exec

The Nokia brand has survived the test of time and multiple generations of mobile devices, though it has had some help from HMD Global. The Finland-based company revived the Nokia name with dozens of smartphones and feature phones. Although it has quite a number of devices under its care, HMD still has to make a new Nokia flagship worthy to stand with other premium phones in the market today. That might still be coming later this year, but it’s becoming a guessing game what that 5G phone will actually bring to the table.

It’s not that HMD Global hasn’t made a Nokia flagship yet. That was the Nokia 9 PureView pictured above with its eccentric five 12MP cameras, among other high-end components. That phone, however, launched back in 2019, and the mobile world has moved on to newer hardware and newer designs.

According to a now-deleted Weibo post from HMD China Project Manager Zhang Yucheng, the wait is going to be a bit longer than some might have wished. The company exec says that HMD will hold a special event on China’s “Single’s Day”, a.k.a. November 11 (11.11), where it will debut a new Nokia 5G phone. Admittedly, he doesn’t actually say it will be a flagship 5G phone, but it doesn’t usually schedule a big event for new mid-range or entry-level devices.

That has understandably sent the Internet into a flurry of speculation on what that 5G phone might be. HMD Global has launched a new Nokia X series recently, but the first devices are more on the budget side of the fence. A Nokia X50 has been making rounds on the Web, but that might only get a Snapdragon 775 5G processor.

And then there’s the recent rumor of a Nokia X60 that might run Huawei’s HarmonyOS instead of Android. Considering the timing and location of the announcement, this 5G phone could indeed be HMD Global’s first device aimed specifically at the Chinese market. That, unfortunately, could disappoint fans of the Nokia brand from international markets who are still hoping for a new premium Nokia phone.

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Nokia X60 rumored to run Huawei HarmonyOS instead of Android

HMD Global has made great strides in reviving the Nokia brand in the Android world. Whether it’s successful or not is still debatable but, so far, it has definitely played the part of a good Android maker, especially when it comes to its commitment to Android updates. Now there are whispers that its honeymoon phase with Android might be over and is courting another partner, one that would see an upcoming Nokia X60 and X60 Pro run Huawei’s shiny new HarmonyOS instead.

It’s really not that easy to qualify what HarmonyOS really is beyond being Huawei’s multi-platform OS. The company might vehemently deny the association and define what HarmonyOS is in buzzword-filled marketing language, but, at least based on some developers’ analyses, its phone version still has many hooks into Android. Calling it an Android fork probably comes the closest, which means it is both Android yet also not Android.

That is what makes this new rumor rather surprising if true. According to IThome, HMD Global has decided to put this very same HarmonyOS on one of its upcoming phones, called the Nokia X60 and Nokia X60 Pro. HMD Global does have experience with other mobile platforms, like the Symbian-based S60 on its Nokia feature phones, but this rumor comes rather out of the blue even for the company.

One potential reason for this sudden change is that HMD may want to target Chinese markets specifically with these two phones. The fact that HarmonyOS has no access to Google Play services and apps is not a big deal in China since those have not been available there anyway. In global markets, it’s a deal-breaker, as Huawei can attest to.

As for the Nokia X60 itself, there is still some uncertainty regarding its specs but features like a 200MP camera, 6,000 mAh battery, and curved edge screens have been mentioned. Those are features that definitely sound almost too good to be true, which only makes this rumored HarmonyOS Nokia phone sound even more fantastical.

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Nokia G20 is coming to the US with a MediaTek chip

MediaTek may have overtaken Qualcomm as the biggest mobile chip vendor for a few quarters but its presence in the US is still comparatively small. Most of the phones that are sold in that prime market run on Qualcomm’s myriad Snapdragon chipsets, but there have been some exceptions here and there. One such exception will be the Nokia G20 that will be coming to the US next week after journeying through Europe. Its MediaTek processor won’t be its selling point, though, and buyers will most likely be more attracted to its price tag.

The Nokia G20 is a budget-friendly mid-range phone through and through, so don’t expect even MediaTek’s least powerful 5G Dimensity SoC. Instead, the phone will be running off the company’s Helio G35, one of the newer processors from that line launched last year with a focus on “mainstream gaming.” With an octa-core arrangement all made up of Cortex-A53 cores, however, don’t expect too much in the way of mobile gaming.

The rest of the phone specs aren’t really too shabby for its price tag. You get 4GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage, for example, topped off with a 6.5-inch 1600×720 screen. The design isn’t going to win any awards, though, with a textured plastic back and a large circular bump in the middle housing four cameras.

Those four cameras might be impressive only in their numbers. These include a 48MP main sensor and a 5MP ultra-wide camera, joined by a macro camera and a depth sensor, both 2MP only. There’s a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and, typical of recent Nokia phones, a dedicated Google Assistant button as well.

It might not sound much but it doesn’t ask for much either. The Nokia G20 will go on sale in the US starting July 1 for no more than $199. For that price, you are also getting two years of major Android updates and up to three years of security updates, a little bit more than what OnePlus’ new and slightly more expensive Nord N200 5G has to offer.

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Nokia 2720 V Flip comes to the US through Verizon

HMD Global isn’t just making Android phones with Nokia’s name on them, it is also making feature phones with Nokia’s name on them. The company has been reviving Nokia’s most iconic handsets and nothing probably gets more iconic than the clamshell form-factor that is always depicted on TV and movies back in the days. That revival arrived with the Nokia 2720 Flip back in 2019 and that same phone is finally arriving in the US as the Nokia 2720 V Flip, courtesy of Verizon.

It’s definitely no foldable phone, at least not in the modern sense of the word, but the Nokia 2720 V Flip does bring back the sophisticated feeling of the classics, the classics that revolved around making calls. Simply flip open the phone to answer calls and flip it close to end it. Of course, you get to see first who’s calling thanks to the 1.3-inch screen on the outside.

Inside, you do get an old-school 2.8-inch QVGA screen that lets you connect with family and friends via Facebook and WhatsApp apps. You do have to recall your muscle memory stabbing at a T9 keyboard to type out text messages. For some people, that might actually be better than on-screen keyboards.

What makes the Nokia 2720 V Flip special, however, is its built-in Google Assistant support enabled by KaiOS. That operating system for feature phones also has its own app store but don’t expect anything close to the likes of Google Play Store, of course.

The Nokia 2720 V Flip is pretty much the same Nokia 2720 Flip announced in 2019, just with the “V” branding earmarking it for Verizon. It will be available starting May 20 for only $79.99. The phone does support 4G LTE connections, of course, and can even be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot if needed.

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Nokia Android 11 update delays made official

Although it does try its best to update its dozens of phone models, it seems that this strategy is catching up to HMD Global. Despite its boast of shipping pretty much vanilla Android, the company is struggling to keep its phones up-to-date with the latest release of Android. Now nearing the middle of the year, HMD Global is releasing a revised timeline for its Android 11 updates and it isn’t looking good for the company’s reputation.

After prematurely revealing it, HMD Global did formally announce its plans for the Android 11 rollout for no less than 14 phones. That schedule would start before 2020 ended and would hopefully be completed by the second quarter of this year. As Nokia phone owners can testify, that never really happened.

As XDA would point out, the Nokia 8.3 5G was the first to get that update and it only happened in the first quarter of 2021. Based on the old schedule, the Nokia 1.3, 2.3, 2.4, 3.4, and 4.2 should have already been upgraded to Android 11. Of course, that hasn’t happened yet either.

Perhaps to manage expectations, HMD Global is releasing a revised schedule that pushes almost all of those by a full quarter. Some, like the Nokia 1 Plus, are staying put, strangely, but now the company’s schedule will last until the third quarter. That means that some Nokia phones will be receiving Android 11 just as Android 12 is announced.

HMD Global is silent on why the updates are being delayed but it is perhaps the victim of its own success. Having so many phone models coming from different ODMs, it might be a logistic nightmare to get all of these updated on schedule.

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Nokia X20 will also ditch the charger in the box

Apple definitely set a trend when it decided to ditch the wall charger in the iPhone 12 box. Samsung and Xiaomi have already followed in their footsteps and Huawei is expected to do so soon as well. It isn’t just the big companies, though, as HMD Global seems to be following the trend. The Nokia X20, one of its new affordable phones, won’t be coming with one and it could affect how consumers will see the overall cost of the phone.

HMD Global definitely didn’t mention that detail when it announced the six new phones in its X, G, C series earlier this month. The Nokia X20 was presented as the higher-end model of the bunch, delivering 5G capability via a Snapdragon 480 5G chipset while carrying a roughly $420 price tag. For a 5G phone, that sounds like a bargain but there was a fine print that wasn’t noticed until now.

TechDroider on Twitter called attention to the Nokia X20 product page‘s boast about the phone’s sustainability. The three-year warranty means you won’t feel compelled to switch to a better-supported phone in less than two years but new to our ears is that there is no plastic wall charger in the box. That, in addition to the box being 100% compostable, is HMD’s way of reducing the company’s ecological impact.

That echoes Apple’s own reasons for ditching the iPhone 12 charger, a justification that some have actually called into question. Apple and Samsung both argue that many people already have compatible chargers lying around so they don’t need to pay for one more. It might not be the same story for HMD Global’s customers who might be in the market for their first smartphone.

In other words, that $420 price tag for an entry-level 5G phone might end up being a bit higher because of the need for a charger. Then again, the latter are a dime a dozen, especially in markets that these Nokia phones cater to.



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Game

Nokia N-Gage games brought back to life with EKA2L1 Symbian emulator

Although perhaps most notorious for turning the mobile market into a dumping ground for dozens of models, the old Nokia was also famous for some iconic phones as well as some innovations that were far too ahead of their time. Even before mobile gaming became the lucrative industry it is today, Nokia was actually the first to put out a proper gaming phone way before smartphones became the reigning device category. For those old enough to remember or those who want to see what the fuss was all about, a Symbian/S60 emulator now lets you turn your Android phone into the modern version of the Nokia N-Gage.

Next to the Nokia 3650 and its circular keypad, the N-Gage was one of Nokia’s quirkiest phones but also perhaps its most prophetic. It predated gaming phones by almost two decades and even launched years before the PSP made that handheld gaming form factor cool. Unfortunately, it was also burdened by the limitations of technologies of that era, something that even today’s cheapest Android phone can surpass without breaking a sweat.

The EKA2L1 emulator tries to bring back those Nokia glory days by allowing today’s hardware to run the nearly ancient Symbian mobile operating system. It supports the three major versions of the S60 OS as well as the devices they ran on, including the N-Gage. That means, in theory, you can now turn your Android phone into a Symbian gaming phone if you want to take a stroll down memory lane or have a few laughs at the predecessors of today’s mobile games.

In practice, however, you can’t simply install EKA2L1 and just run the games. It takes a bit of setup and, more importantly, requires ROMs of those games. If you’ve had any experience with emulators, you know where this is heading.

EKA2L1 has actually been around on PCs for a while but it just recently got its first release on Google Play Store. Given what it does, it’s probably not certain how long it will last there but, since it’s an open source project, it’ll probably live on longer than its Play Store presence anyway.

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Nokia X20 and X10 bring affordable 5G without the Android update flaw

HMD Global has revealed its latest Nokia Android phones, including 5G connectivity at roughly $360 prices, and longer update commitments than most low-cost devices deliver. The new Nokia X20 and X10, Nokia G20 and G10, and Nokia C20 and C10 collectively make up HMD’s biggest single Nokia launch in one go, while a new MVNO will throw in service too.

Nokia X20 and X10

High-end models of the new range, both the X20 and X10 use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 480 5G platform. Announced back in January, it’s the first of the 400-series to offer 5G Sub-6 GHz. What’s notable here is that, while we’ve seen affordable Android phones before – and even a few with 5G – HMD Global is trying to make sure that the software lasts as long as the hardware, with a new OS update commitment

Both phones run Android 11 using the Android One interface, with a 6.67-inch Full HD+ screen. The X10 has a 48-megapixel quad camera, while the X20 has a 64-megapixel camera plus a 32-megapixel front camera. With Dual Sight, it can activate them simultaneously. Both phones should manage two days of battery life, HMD says.

The Nokia X20 will be priced from 349 euro ($405) with 6GB memory / 128GB storage, with a more expensive 8GB/128GB version available. The X10, meanwhile, will be offered in 6/64GB, 6/128GB, and 4/128GB configurations, from 309 euro ($360). They’ll go on sale in select markets from May and June, respectively.

Nokia G20, G10, C20, and C10

The G10 and G20 slot into HMD’s G-series of Nokia phones, with even longer battery life: up to three days, the company claims. They have side-fingerprint sensors and a 6.5-inch display. The G20 has a triple rear camera system, while the G20 steps up to a 48-megapixel main camera and OZO surround sound.

The G20 will go on sale from May from 159 euro ($185) while the G10 will arrive in April from 139 euro ($160).

Finally, the C10 and C20 are focused on the affordable end of the scale. They run Android 11 Go Edition on a 6.5-inch HD+ display, and will go on sale from June and April, respectively, at 75 euro ($87) for the C10 and 89 euro ($99) for the C20.

Nokia Updates

As well as the six new phones, HMD Global is also updating its software commitment for Nokia devices. The C-series will get two years of quarterly security updates, but the G-series and X-series will boost that to three years of security updates.

As for the OS, the G-series will get two years of Android updates, HMD Global says. The X-series, meanwhile, will get three years of OS updates, and an extended warranty.

HMD Mobile

Today’s launch isn’t just about handsets, though, but also a new carrier. HMD Global is launching in the UK first, from the end of April, as an MVNO relying on the EE network. As with current Nokia phones, the focus will be affordability.

Plans will start from £6.50 ($8.25) per month for unlimited UK/EU calls and texts, and 1GB data, and run all the way up to 25GB of data per month. Full details will be announced closer to launch, along with a new HMD Mobile app for data use tracking, support, and other features.

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Big Nokia leak sheds light on the X20 5G, X10 5G, and G10

Three smartphones from Nokia have been leaked with data about the devices turning up ahead of their official announcement. Information on the X20 5G Scarlet Witch, X10 5G Quick Silver, and G10 has surfaced. The leak suggests the X10 5G will be powered by a Snapdragon 480 5G processor; the same processor is tipped for the X20 5G.

The X20 is rumored to feature six gigabytes of RAM and 128 gigabytes of storage with blue and sand colors available. X10 buyers will get six gigabytes of RAM and 32 gigabytes of storage, suggesting the X20 be the more expensive phone of the pair. X10 buyers will get to choose between white or green colors.

The pricing rumor suggests the X20 will cost €349, while the X10 will sell for €300. Both devices are expected to be unveiled at a launch on April 8. The other smartphone, the Nokia G10, has more data leaked about it. A 6.3-inch display with HD+ resolution featuring a punch-hole front camera will be featured.

The rear camera set up has a quad-camera array with a 48MP primary sensor combined with a 2MP depth, 5MP ultrawide, and 2MP macro sensor. Color options will include blue or purple, with the device measuring 160.97 x 75.99 x 8.7 millimeters and weighing 180 grams. It will operate on a CAT 4 network on bandwidths supporting networks in the US and Latin America. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, and GPS will be integrated. The operating system is Android 11, with the device offered in versions featuring three or four gigabytes of RAM.

Internal storage is either 32 or 64 gigabytes with a microSD card slot for expansion. The processor is an octa-core MediaTek Helio P22. The rumor suggests the phone will feature a 3.5 millimeter headphone port, dual microphones, and an FM tuner. Power is from a 4000 mAh battery that is nonremovable. The rumor suggests the G10 will be priced at €139 for the version with three gigabytes of RAM and 32 gigabytes of storage.

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Nokia 9 PureView hands-on: All of the cameras and none of the gimmicks

Compared to Samsung’s folding phone and LG’s touchless UI, the Nokia 9 PureView, HMD’s first flagship of 2019, is decidedly simple in its ambitions. It merely wants to take the best possible photos ever recorded by a smartphone.

Actually achieving it, however, isn’t simple at all. The back of the Nokia 9 sports a unique penta-lens array of cameras, plus a sensor and a flash, arranged in a neat hexagonal pattern. Clockwise from top, you get:

  1. 12MP monochrome, f/1.8 
  2. Time of Flight sensor
  3. 12MP monochrome, f/1.8
  4. 12MP RGB, f/1.8
  5. LED flash
  6. 12MP monochrome, f/1.8 (center)
nokia 9 backMichael Simon/IDG

The Nokia 9 has a glass back and lots of cameras.

So there’s no ultra-wide or telephoto lens on the Nokia 9, and in fact, none of the cameras are particularly revolutionary on their own. But they’re not meant to work alone. When you snap a photo with the Nokia 9, all five cameras spring into action to capture up to 240MP of data. The images are then instantaneously fused together into a single 12MP HDR picture (or a giant RAW one). I expected there to be a second or two of processing time due to five cameras individually adjusting exposure and white balance on the fly, but the shutter on the Nokia 9 snaps just as fast as any other smartphone’s.

The results are pretty stunning. HMD showed off some sample shots that easily could have been taken by a high-end DSLR, with incredible color accuracy and exposure, and enough resolution to zoom in many times without losing crispness. Images are so editable, in fact, that HMD has partnered with Adobe to offer an optimized version of Lightroom that you may choose to install during setup. I tested it briefly, and it looks like it would be fine in an emergency. I can’t imagine many photographers plan to do intensive photo editing on their teeny phone screens

I could even see the difference on the quick shots I took on my own. Colors were bright and incredibly accurate. Even on a snowy day through a window, I captured an impressive cityscape with details that went unnoticed in the same pic taken with my Galaxy S9.

nokia 9 bezelsMichael Simon/IDG

The Nokia 9 hides all of its tricks on the back.

The extra depth is due to the Nokia 9’s time-of-flight camera, which gives the phone the ability to capture 1,200 layers of depth when shooting portraits. That means your bokeh shots have realistic blur without the usual computational issues. For example, wisps of hair stay sharply in focus, and background images retain their proper distance and aren’t muddied into a single blur.

A little mid, a little high

Aside from the artistic camera array, the Nokia 9 feels more like a mix of premium and mid-range. The bluish metallic finish on the back of the case also extends to the front, giving it a unique personality amongst the sea of black-clad competitor phones. The camera array is the only element on the back, as the fingerprint sensor now resides under the display.

nokia 9 frontMichael Simon/IDG

That’s not a Pixel 3 I’m holding, it’s a Nokia 9.

The 6-inch OLED HDR10 display is somewhat reminiscent of the Google Pixel 3’s, with rounded corners, no notch, and very visible bezels all around. At 8mm, it’s just thick enough to ensure none of the cameras need a bump, which helps the system blend seamlessly into the enclosure.

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