Allow me to introduce you to “the bothie.” It’s not a selfie, nor a normal photo (which all the cool kids call a “youie”), but a hybrid of the two. It’s a composite shot from both cameras on your phone, showing both you and whatever else is out there. It’s a bothie.
Crazy idea? Maybe. And yet, if history is any indication, you’ll scoff at the bothie now and then while you’re not looking they will take over the world.
Now, allow me to introduce you to The Bothie Phone. Technically, it’s called the Nokia 8. Either way it’s the first flagship phone from HMD Global, the Finnish company that now owns the Nokia smartphone name. The Nokia 8, in addition to its Bothie-ness, offers most of the trappings of a good phone: 4 gigs of RAM, 64 gigs of storage, brand-spankin’-new processor, crisp 5.3-inch screen, pure Android. It’s not waterproof and it doesn’t have a tiny bezel, but it does have some of the standard Nokia design flair. It’s a clean, slim, softly rounded device that comes in a bunch of cool colors, like blue and orange. It does all the things a good phone should.
But its bothie-bilities set the 8 apart. At least, HMD Global hopes so. The company made the camera rig with the help of longtime Nokia partner Carl Zeiss, and made the phone for the YouTubers and Instagrammers of the world. The phone has three cameras: two 13-megapixel sensors on the back, one color and one monochrome, and another 13-megapixel shooter on the front. Even the audio has been tuned for 360-degree sound. You can fire up the camera, switch to dual-sight mode, and either capture or livestream both views from your device. Viewers will see a split-screen live feed on YouTube or Facebook, so make sure you don’t absent-mindedly pick your nose or anything.
Such camera-melding techniques are hardly new. The app Frontback offered a similar effect, albeit a more manual one. Samsung, for a while, let you snap a selfie and then drop it into the frame of a photo. You could also make the case that 360 photos are bothies and then some. (Everythingies?) In theory, the feature offers a way to be part of a scene without interrupting it. And since it’s right next to the most important buttons in your camera app, HMD hopes you’ll make it part of your social routine.
The Nokia 8 won’t be available in the US, which will surely disappoint at least a few creators. It’ll be available in Europe and elsewhere for about 599 euros, which puts the 8 into nearly the top tier of smartphones everywhere. That’s a lot of pressure to put on the 8’s camera, its only truly unique feature. HMD’s smart to emphasize the camera, which has become more and more important to all smartphone users in the Snapchat and Instagram era. But if people do like the feature, other manufacturers and developers can likely copy it quickly. Still, HMD had to make phones for someone, and it picked people who love selfies. That might be the biggest market of them all.