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Nokia 8: HMD raises curtain on Android flagship handset

After months of speculation by tech pundits, HMD Global has revealed details about its new Android smartphone, the Nokia 8. When it is released in September, the Nokia 8 will become the firm's flagship device - "designed with content creators in mind." However, the phone will be up against major competition from many other manufacturers, but HMD is trying to rise above the fray with the phone's unique features and hardware.

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HMD Global's Nokia 8. Image: HDM / Lehtikuva

The Nokia 8 - a "pure Android" smartphone with some unique features that may interest content creators will be released in September, according to HMD Global, the small Finnish company which is the exclusive licensee of Nokia handsets.

The Android smartphone market is wildly competitive. Smartphone manufacturers - like Samsung (whose devices make up more than 50 percent of the global Android market) and smaller but equally competitive firms Huawei and LG - all try to differentiate their devices with special hardware features.

The Nokia 8's projected September release pits it directly against both Samsung - which will release its flagship Note 8 phablet later this month - and Apple, which is expected to release a slew of updated iPhones in the autumn.

Dual-camera "bothies"

To increase the device's uniqueness, the company has turned to both of its cameras - the front and back. HMD is marketing the Nokia 8's Dual-Sight video camera as a "world-first." According to the company Dual-Sight enables simultaneous use of both the front and rear cameras in applications like video streaming or when taking selfies.

The company has branded the dual-camera selfies as "bothies," but it remains to be seen whether the feature is enticing enough to draw customers away from bigger manufacturers.

Stock Android likely appealing to enthusiasts

One feature, which is rare among most Android handset manufacturers these days, is how the operating system is implemented. With the exception of Google-branded phones, most smartphone makers - in order to differentiate themselves - use their own proprietary variety of Android (think Samsung TouchWiz).

Like Google's phones, Nokia 8 will run stock Android which is free of branding or bloatware (redundant and often unremovable apps and services) - a choice that could attract the affection of many Android purists. The company also said the Nokia 8 will receive monthly security updates.

The Nokia 8's hardware is standard for current flagship phones. It will run Qualcomm's latest processor - the Snapdragon 835 - which is featured in several high end, current Android handsets on the market.

Buyers of the phone will also have a choice between either 4 or 6 GB of RAM memory. Another hardware feature that seems to be making a comeback on phones these days is the ability to add an SD card for extra storage of apps, photos and other media, which may help attract buyers, too.

Nokia 8's triple microphones

One gimmick on the upcoming device is something the company has dubbed "OZO Audio," which it calls an "immersive 360-degree spatial surround sound," carried out by three microphones and "exclusive acoustic algorithms". Whether audio is improved by the technology remains to be heard.

When, exactly, in September the phone will be released has not yet been announced, but the company says the Nokia 8 would have a global average price of 599 euros.

The company's chief product officer, Juho Sarvikas said that the new phone was designed with social media sharing in mind.

"We know that fans are creating and sharing live content more than ever before, with millions of photos and videos shared every minute on social media," Sarvikas said in a release issued on Wednesday.

HMD is a Finnish firm with exclusive rights to design and market Nokia phones, and made up of former Nokia executives.

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