Nokia Android smartphone ‘Normandy’ to launch this month at the MWC 2014

By Alexandra Burlacu | Feb 11, 2014 08:44 AM EST

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Nokia's much-rumored Android smartphone dubbed Nokia X, or Normandy, has leaked extensively recently and it now seems that it may debut this month.

The purported handset would launch as Nokia's first-ever Android smartphone, and it would cater to the low-end/mid-tier segment of the market. Nothing is confirmed at this point, but intensifying leaks and speculation suggest an imminent launch.

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The latest news comes from a new Wall Street Journal report, which claims that the Nokia Android smartphone may launch as soon as this month. It's been all over the news that Microsoft is set to purchase Nokia's phone division in a $7.1 billion deal, but the transaction is yet to be completed. Until the deal actually closes, Nokia is still an independent company, which means that it has a small window to make this push. According to the WSJ, Nokia will take advantage of this window to launch its "Normandy" Android smartphone before Microsoft swoops in.

The upcoming Nokia Normandy will reportedly come as a low-end replacement for the company's S40 Asha platform, as Microsoft's Windows Phone OS is not compatible with low-end devices. In other words, Nokia wants to target developing markets, but it can't do it with Windows Phone - enter Android.

As previous reports have already noted, the Nokia Normandy phone will use a forked version of Android, similarly to how Amazon uses a customized Android version for its Kindle Fire lineup. Nokia will reportedly opt for a heavily skinned Android "to the point where it appears to be a wallpaper-less black screen with only icons." The WSJ further notes that it would not have the typical Android navigation buttons such as Home and Recent, instead sporting only a "back" button for navigation.

As the publication points out, however, such a handset would not have much support in terms of apps. The Android app ecosystem may be immense, but if it goes for a forked version of the OS Nokia would have to build its own app store and convince developers to create apps for it. Once Microsoft takes over, this Android smartphone would be considered the enemy.

"While a Nokia Android phone is a fun 'alternate universe' device, unless Microsoft has a huge change of company policy, this device is firmly in the 'dead on arrival' category," notes the WSJ.

While Nokia has yet to confirm plans to launch such a device, the WSJ's sources claim that it will unveil its Android handset later this month at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014, which kicks off on Feb. 24 in Barcelona, Spain.



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