Nokia is set to debut an Android-based low-end smartphone at the Mobile World Congress later this month. And, Microsoft is said to be on board with the project.
Is this Nokia's new Android smartphone?
Despite Nokia’s (NOK) status as a soon-to-be-finalized Microsoft (MSFT) acquisition, the Finnish mobile device maker will debut its long-rumored Google (GOOG) Android-based smartphone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, starting Feb. 24, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
Nokia’s code-named Project Normandy, said to be a low-end handset, reportedly was designed and crafted prior to discussions of a deal between the two companies, and apparently will survive the transaction intact. According to reports, the device is a step up from Nokia’s existing Asha entry-level lineup—soon to be owned by Microsoft along with the Lumia portfolio—and features a heavily modified version of Android.
According to WSJ, Normandy will come with Nokia and Microsoft digital services such as the Here mapping service and MixRadio streaming music service, in addition to a link to the Nokia app store. The buzz is the unit will be called Nokia X once it begins to ship.
What’s leaked out about Normandy is it features a Windows Phone-like user interface and likely will sport specifications typical for low-end units such as 4GB of RAM and 512MB of storage.
Nokia is, by far, the leading OEM unit producer of Microsoft’s Windows Phone-based mobile devices, but the two companies appear to have worked out some level of collaboration, likely based on Microsoft’s lack of presence for its mobile OS in the industry’s most fertile growth segment—low cost devices in emerging markets. And, it appears that Microsoft sees Normandy as a vehicle to deliver services to a wider audience and as a way to offset costs.
Microsoft currently is updating Windows Phone to version 8.1 and has begun offering the associated Software Development Kit (SDK) to developers. The vendor has long suggested it will nudge Windows Phone and Windows RT closer together, ultimately to run alongside one another no matter the platform, but this release doesn’t appear to be the one that takes it there, according to a report in The Verge.
The update, however, is said to include a host of new features and improvements such as a new battery monitor, VPN support and the ability to install apps to an SD card.