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Leaked high-performance Nokia P1 looks exciting, but there may be more to it than that

Why it matters to you

Nokia's coming back with new phones in 2017, but there's evidence it may tweak existing phone designs to do so

Nokia has made it very clear that 2017 will mark its big comeback, and we’re just beginning to see the first rumors about the devices it’ll show off over the coming months. The latest, and perhaps most exciting model yet, is the P1. However, its true identity is something of a mystery, which may mean the whole thing ends up as a case of either mistaken identity, or wishful thinking.

A comprehensive leak of what may be the Nokia P1 was published on a Russian website, but it doesn’t state where the information was obtained. That’s not the only reason to treat it with more caution than usual either. Apparently, the phone is related to the Sharp Aquos Xx3, a Japanese device, which is also known as the Aquos P1 in Taiwan. Coincidence?

More: Learn more about Nokia and HMD Global’s plans for 2017 here

Sharp P1

The specs leaked for the Nokia P1 match up with the Sharp phone, but with a few alterations to bring it up to date (or make the fake rumor report more juicy). The Nokia P1 supposedly will have a 5.3-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel Sharp screen with IGZO technology, which produces smoother images and video, while using less power. A 22-megapixel camera is expected on the back of the phone, along with a fingerprint sensor, and IP55/58 water resistance. All of these are Aquos Xx3/P1 features.

Nokia’s P1 will apparently get a performance boost with a Snapdragon 835 processor and 6GB of RAM, plus Android 7.0 Nougat, and a choice of either 128GB or 256GB of internal memory. Other features mentioned in the leak include a 3,500mAh battery, a MicroSD card slot, a selfie cam, and the usual connectivity options. Finally, we’re told the price will start at around $800 and may reach $950 for the top-specification model.

Nokia, or Sharp?

What’s going on here? Has a Sharp Aquos P1 been accidentally leaked as the Nokia P1, are we being deceived, or is Nokia and its new owner HMD Global rebadging a tweaked Aquos P1 as one of its new phones? We don’t know yet, but coincidentally, this isn’t the first report linking the two together. In July last year, renders of an unknown Nokia phone that looked almost identical to the P1 were also leaked by the same Russian source.

There’s more evidence behind the scenes too. Nokia’s manufacturing partner is Foxconn, which just happens to have acquired Sharp early last year, in a deal worth $3.8 billion. It has since started producing Sharp-branded smartphones for release in Japan and China. However, we’ve also heard about a Nokia P phone before too, and a leaked image doesn’t match up with the Sharp P1’s design, so it’s not all certain yet.

It’s not the end of the world if Nokia uses the Sharp P1 as a template for one of its phones. The Sharp model looks great, and we especially like the side-mounted fingerprint sensor, just like the one found on some Sony X-Series devices. Nokia may release between four and six phones in 2017, so tweaking an existing design unavailable outside Asia before makes good sense.

Regardless whether the P1 is among them or not, Nokia is likely to reveal at least some of its new phones during the Mobile World Congress show at the end of February. We’ll keep you updated on the P1 here.