HMD Global will finally be releasing a "true" Android flagship in 2019, according to a new rumor that emerged online earlier today. The device in question is likely to debut as a direct successor to the Nokia 9 PureView, a handset that's been the subject of countless rumors and reports in recent months even though it has yet to be officially announced. And while the Nokia 9 PureView will launch as HMD's first high-end device of 2019, it won't be shipping with the very best hardware that many consumers and critics are now expecting from smartphones priced north of $800. Instead, the phablet will almost certainly be powered by the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm's 2018 chip whose successor has already been announced and will be commercialized in a matter of months. Consumers still won't have to wait until next year for a Nokia-branded device with the Snapdragon 855 as that's exactly what the follow-up to the Nokia 9 PureView is meant to be, according to the new report. The company is actually looking to take things even further and fully embrace new mobile technologies by implementing 5G support into the same Android smartphone, as per the same source.
Embracing the bleeding edge
The unnamed device is also said to be featuring a five-lens camera setup on the back, similar to the Nokia 9 PureView. Whether the two gadgets will share identical imaging hardware is still unclear, though HMD is at least bound to improve its mobile photography software between their releases, hence continuing its optimization efforts started some two years back. A 2K (QHD) display is also said to be part of the package, together with a largely bezel-free design featuring a front-camera hole instead of a more unbecoming notch, the new report suggests. HMD's second 2019 flagship is presently planned for an August launch but given how it's still in development, the firm may end up revising that timeframe in the coming months. The handset vendor is currently also understood to be negotiating with American wireless carriers regarding a potential distribution partnership, the insider behind the new leak claims, though the company's officials already confirmed they're exploring partnerships with U.S. operators last year.
Between 5G support and a better processor, the rumored flagship may end up being even more expensive than the Nokia 9 PureView which is now understood to be mere days from its official announcement. According to recent reports, that particular phablet will initially launch only in Euro and start at around €750, or just over $850. While HMD's decision to fully embrace Google's Android One program with all of its devices and commitment to arguably the fastest software updates in the industry are highly appealing to tech enthusiasts, the fact that the firm's first high-end device of the year won't sport the very best processor available is likely to have an opposite effect.
The cost of luxury
While a truly ultra-premium device featuring the best specs offered by the tech industry should make HMD's Android portfolio more competitive, it's also bound to eat into the company's profit margins, assuming the Finnish manufacturer will still be looking to price its upcoming handset in an attractive manner, much like it's been doing with the rest of its products over the course of the last two years. Alternatively, the company may simply opt to raise the price of the Nokia 9 PureView successor but given how the said flagship will be launching in late summer, such a decision may not bode well for its prospects given how that's the same timeframe when Samsung will likely be debuting the Galaxy Note 10, whereas Apple is also expected to launch its new iPhones by September. In other words, pricing may be one of the few undisputed selling points HMD's final 2019 flagship will have over its closest rivals, so the company may end up lowering its profit margin in hopes of doing a better job at competing with the two tech behemoths. As Huawei is presumably also looking to refresh its Mate range with the Mate 30 circa October, the rumored launch window of the Nokia 9 PureView successor signals HMD finally believes it's ready to take on the world's largest handset vendors directly. Whether that means the company will finally bring a high-end device to the U.S. remains to be seen, though its officials were never reluctant to say the upper price bracket of the stateside market is their long-term goal, so 2019 may be the year wherein the smartphone vendor finally pulls the trigger on offering a Nokia flagship to American consumers, something that has yet to happen in the brand's post-Microsoft era.