It’s the middle of December, which means we’re right in the middle of that lull in the phone industry. Hardly any new devices are revealed, but rumors and leaks run rampant discussing what the following year might have in store for us. Such a leak appeared earlier this morning regarding the anticipated return of Nokia-branded smartphones. Depicted in a pixelated low-res photo (posted below) the “new Nokia” was rumored to feature a Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB of RAM, and a 23-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens.
The photo in question already has been debunked as being a shopped photo of a Nokia 515, so it’s fair to assume that nobody really knows anything about the future direction of the Nokia brand. However, the “leaked” design did spark some interesting conversation regarding its common design of what appears to be an aluminum back with antenna lines, which got me thinking: what would happen if Nokia did one of the most un-Nokia things and used a perfectly average smartphone design?
I’ve always thought of Nokia as being quirky and unique with their mobile designs, unafraid of thinking out of the box. This is particularly the case in earlier years in mobile, as we can see with these interesting designs:
When the Nokia Lumia came out, its designs were a fair bit tamer than some of the above ideas, but their bright colors and tough polycarbonate material made them stand out in a crowd and nearly negated the need for a case. My old Nokia Lumia 928 was probably the only phone in recent history I can remember being completely comfortable using without a case. Most of my phones now feature either glass or aluminum backs, which are prone to shattering and denting and therefore require a protective case.
I consider the Nokia Lumias memorable, but I’m not sure if it’s because they were the torch bearer for Windows Phone for so long or because their oft bright color schemes and tough exterior truly made them worth remembering. Would a phone with a Nokia Lumia design be as intriguing when thrown into a sea of Androids? Most Android flagships have since conformed to designs that look very similar to one another in both materials and colors, with the one exception of certain Moto devices. I can imagine that the choice between conforming to modern smartphone design standards as opposed to going with something more unique, as per Nokia's history, would be a difficult choice to make. On the one hand, said standards are generally accepted and welcomed by smartphone consumers; on the other hand, people may have different expectations from a brand with a history like Nokia's.
Personally, I’m rooting for a Lumia-like design from Nokia’s Android endeavors. They might not have been the most premium looking devices, but some of them actually looked quite good, and it would be refreshing to have the option on the market again.