Nokia's plans to return to the smartphone market are no secret - the company's CEO confirmed in July that it was looking for a partner for the manufacture, distribution and support of the device, in a similar arrangement to its N1 Android tablet, which is built and supported by Foxconn.
However, Nokia's new phone is at least a year away from going on sale - but twice in the last few days, images have popped up of what appears to be a new Nokia handset.
A few days ago, purported renders of a Nokia-branded handset were posted on Chinese social network Weibo, which showed a device sporting similar design cues to the N1 tablet. However, it wasn't clear if the images were authentic - and given that fan renders and designs often pop up on the web, it would be easy to simply dismiss the Weibo post as fanciful fluff.
Once again, the authenticity of the photos hasn't been verified, so be sure to glance upon these images with a cynical eye. The device - which is believed to be called the 'C1' - is said to have an Intel Atom processor with 2GB of RAM, along with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but again, it's not at all clear if these details are accurate.
And in fact, it's worth reminding ourselves that this handset is still at least a year away from going on sale - not by Nokia's choice, but as a result of its standing agreement with Microsoft not to re-enter the smartphone market until Q4 2016. By that time, Android 6.0 will have been superseded by newer releases, and powerful and power-efficient Intel Core M 'Skylake' processors will be available for phones.
It seems somewhat unlikely that Nokia will have even come close to finalizing the hardware that it will launch a year from now - especially when it's only been eight weeks since its CEO said it was still looking for a manufacturing partner. The obvious conclusion here is that one or both sets of images are a hoax - and without at least some indication that they may be the real deal, that's an easy conclusion to come to.
An alternative possibility is that the device may be authentic, but an early engineering prototype with current-gen specs, built as a proof of concept device - it's pretty common for companies that are entering a new market segment to cobble together early prototypes to show to retail partners and investors as an indication of what's to come, before production models are ready. Nokia is, more or less, starting from scratch with its new smartphone efforts - even hiring a new workforce for its development, including Android phone engineers - which would appear to support that 'prototype' theory.
However, that remains pure speculation - but one thing is clear: whether or not these images and details are authentic, Nokia's new smartphone won't be going on sale until the end of next year, by which time the company will be facing some rather interesting new Android rivals...