Call it the Nokia Normandy or the Nokia X, the Finnish company’s secret Android phone project has been breaking cover with such alarming frequency, no need to tell you its release date is due. All the excitement is partially due to the fact that the Nokia Normandy phone is long overdue.
The first time the much-talked-about handset hit rumor mills, there was no indication of it running Google’s mobile OS. We thought we were looking at a new Asha member or a Windows Phone-powered Lumia Normandy. After a fortnight or so, gossip about this being an Android Nokia device started emerging.
Nokia Normandy/Nokia X features:
Based on unofficial sources, one of the most interesting aspects of the Nokia Android phone is the fact that it runs a version of Android KitKat which has been tampered with. Users may only be able to download and use apps from Nokia Store and third party developers. So all those games and utilities you love in Play Store may not be accessible.
A leaked snapshot of the phone’s user interface showed a UI tailored to appear like the Windows Phone one. It borrows the tiles theme and flaunts a notifications as well as app center. The exterior is mostly Lumia-like and you should be able to pick from color choices of black, white, red, blue, green and yellow when the device hits shelves.
‘Conspiracy theorists’ on the Nokia Android smartphone:
A Vietnamese retailer had let loose the specs of the handset – it apparently houses a dual core 1GHz Snapdragon 200 processor. Seems a bit under-powered. There’s only 512MB RAM and 4GB ROM. Gizmodo opines, ‘Conspiracy theorists might even suggest Nokia’s making a rubbish Android phone on purpose’ so that Windows Phone looks comparatively better.
Two ways to interact with Normandy. pic.twitter.com/uUY2XF4h7i
— @evleaks (@evleaks) January 16, 2014
Just a fun theory, of course. We don’t see Microsoft wasting time and other resources deliberately manufacturing a bad smartphone. Apart from the aforesaid details, the device in question is also thought to be outfitted with a 4-inch 480 x 854p screen, a 5MP main camera and a 1500mAh Li-ion battery.
Why Nokia didn’t pick Android over Windows Phone in the first place:
First off, it may have been a bad decision made with more heart and less reasoning. After taking time off to rubbish Android in many subtle ways, the Finnish company signed up with Microsoft (a not-so-subtle insult to Android which was growing quickly around the same time) and started building Lumia devices running on Windows Phone.
And it failed. You don’t need the facts and figures to prove that. The company was forced to sell its device and services business to Microsoft. But it will still be getting its revenge for whatever Google did to it. Since the Normandy gets its kicks from a forked version of Android, no Google Play Store access for it.
There’s also the issue of Google’s notorious reputation for wanting a certain degree of control over Android gadgets by OEMs. Hark back to the time Digital Trends reported about Acer being forced to can its CloudMobile A800 based on Aliyun, a doctored version of Android (Do note that the Kindle working on the custom Fire OS was available back then).
Nokia Normandy specifications roundup:
– 4-inch 480 x 854p resolution touchscreen
– Android KitKat 4.4 OS
– 1GHz Snapdragon 200 dual core processor
– Adreno 302 graphics
– 512MB RAM, 4GB internal memory
– 32GB microSD expandability
– Dual slots for microSIM cards
– 5MP rear camera
– 1500mAh Li-ion battery
– Six color options
— sea (@seamissu) January 12, 2014
Price and release date window:
Like we mentioned above, it’s most likely that the handset will turn up this month at the MWC 2014 which will happen between February 24 and 27. We’re hoping Microsoft will take a leaf from Google and won’t push the release date way past March. Launching the device amidst ongoing hype is a marketing basic after all.
Gong by the features which list a dual core processor, just 512MB RAM and 4GB internal memory, we’re assuming the Nokia X will be sold at a mid-range price. Additionally, it’s only got a 4-inch touchscreen. The dual SIM slots under the hood further cements the idea of it being a low- to mid-range gadget.
Why Microsoft is using its biggest rival’s mobile OS now:
Lack of access to Play Store means users will have to download Nokia Store and third party applications. So Google won’t receive its cut from app developers. And Android is a free and open source (in a manner of speaking) software anyway. What’s more, Amazon does successfully with its Fire OS.
And that’s not the only forked Android OS (AOSP) running amok. According to ABI Research, the 137% year-on-year growth Android boasted of in Q4 2013 mostly came from AOSP. Out of the Google mobile OS’ 77% total market share in this period, the latter claimed 25% with 71 million units shipped.
Apart from Amazon and its Kindle, Meizu uses Flyme for its handsets and Samsung may be ready to start disassociating itself from Android with its Magazine UX. HTC Sense and Samsung TouchWiz are Google-certified. The point is, Microsoft’s new-found interest could have to do with the convenience of diluting the Android experience on its own devices.
If the Nokia Normandy takes off well, we may be seeing more Android-powered Nokia phones for 2014.