Once upon a time, Nokia was the cutting edge in cellphone technology for mass sale. Every consumer that slowly but surely made the move from depending on their landline to adopting a cellphone invariably used a Nokia device at one stage or another during the 90s and 00s. Eventually, Samsung joined the party and not too long after smartphone usage would explode and be dominated by two operating systems: Android and iOS. Unfortunately Nokia didn’t really stay ahead of the curve as the cellphone landscape changed and morphed into the smartphone environment we have now. Their collaboration with Microsoft to incorporate Windows Phone into their devices was adventurous, but ultimately failed to establish a foothold in the market.
They’ve fallen off the consumer tech radar a little but they’re trying their hand at a bit of a resurrection with the recently announced Nokia 8. The game changer for Nokia? It’s running on Android, just like its predecessor, the underrated Nokia 6. The Google owned operating system is a platform currently only really rivaled by the popularity of iOS, so for Nokia it’s very much a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them”, and they’ve made a shrewd decision to pin their flag to the Android mast.
The form factor is nothing revolutionary, it looks like Nokia is taking little risk and following the dominant trend of having slim, minimalist slabs; the only feature marking it as a Nokia is the oblong camera unit on the back, reminiscent of their Lumia range along with some Nokia branding on the front. The form is safe, and so is the function – although it’s rather impressive, as well. Let’s break down the important specs:
- 5.3in QHD IPS Display (16m colours, Corning Gorilla Glass 5)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Processor
- 64GB/128GB Internal Memory
- 4GB RAM
- MicroSD Card Slot
- 13MP Camera, 4K Recording, Carl Zeiss Optics.
- Android 7.11 Nougat
Avid smartphone enthusiasts generally agree that the latest Samsung flagship (the S8) and Apple’s line leader (the iPhone 7) are the de facto yardsticks that the rest of the field will be measured against. While the Nokia 8 isn’t blowing either of those out of the water, it is in the race. The 5.3-inch screen is right between the larger Samsung and smaller iPhone, its resolution a slight bit weaker than the Samsung, while it shares the Adreno and Qualcomm CPU and GPU units with the Samsung S8.
Its battery life, multimedia capabilities, and connectivity features can all go toe-to-toe with the Samsung, too. Instead of trying to make a daring entrance, Nokia have elected to surreptitiously offer an alternative to the mass of Samsung and Apple products with a competitive alternative that doesn’t stray too far from what people are already using. It has a few interesting quirks, such as the “Bothie” features, which allows both the front and back cameras to broadcast when using streaming apps such as Facebook Live or YouTube Live. Don’t let the silly name fool you – it’s a novel inclusion.
The consumer tech environment in general is a cutthroat industry. If brands don’t innovate enough, they risk getting outdone by the established players, and if they stray too far from the norm, they alienate consumers that are set in their ways. The Nokia 8 isn’t breaking the mold, nor is it too bland, rather it comes across as a viable alternative that sticks close to what the big players are doing. It should mean that consumers willing to stray from the big two may be convinced by some old school charm and nostalgia with all the modern tech.