Codename Normandy, Nokia’s first Android smartphone is now being slated to arrive during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) on the 24th of February, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). We’ve heard rumors that this device would make an appearance at MWC, along with the official name of the device being “Nokia X.”
While Microsoft isn’t expected to make much buzz at the event, Nokia is rumored to unveil the long-rumored “Normandy” phone that runs on a forked version of Android. Nokia Normandy has been under the limelight for quite a bit now and is rumored to be a low-cost handset, featuring a 4-inch display, a Snapdragon processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB storage with microSD card. The handset comes with a single button, similar to the one found inside the Asha line up of the company. The interface itself looks to be a hybrid between Android and Windows Phone.
So why is Microsoft on board with an Android smartphone? The answer might lie with the old adage of “keep your friends close, and keep your enemies closer.”
“One of newly appointed Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella’s key tasks is helping the U.S. software company catch up in mobile using its Window operating system. But as Android’s share of the global smartphone market continues to climb, Nokia’s new phone could signal that Microsoft is willing to be pragmatic, including relying on a bitter rival’s software to help boost sales volumes,” the WSJ reports.
Android is only one part of the equation as the mobile operating system from Google requires apps and other content to be purchased from the Google Play store in order to create any revenue or profit. Microsoft and Nokia are both reportedly going to pre-install a suite of services, including HERE Maps, Nokia Mix Radio, and a Nokia app store containing Android apps. In other words, don’t expect to see a Google Play Store in the Nokia X smartphone.
“The strategy echoes the approach of Amazon.com Inc., which has used a modified version of Android for Kindle tablets that are configured not to directly accept Android apps. While Google backs Android, the software can be modified and distributed by rival developers and manufacturers,” the WSJ explains.
With the Nokia X, Microsoft is reportedly looking to increase handset sales volumes as well as target the low-cost, low-spec market.