If you still think that Nokia was just flirting with creating an Android smartphone and it was just a backup plan if the Microsoft acquisition somehow didn’t go through, think again. A photograph of a Nokia prototype phone that resembles leaked photos of the first Android smartphone codenamed Normandy has leaked. Also Read - Nokia Clarity, Comfort, Micro, Go Earbuds Series with ANC launched: Price, featuresAlso Read - Nokia C30 budget phone launched with price under Rs 10,000: Check specs, price
While the photo does not shed any new light on the smartphone or its specifications, we can make out it will have a front-facing camera. Designed like an Asha smartphone with just one back button and a UI that resembles more like Asha UI than Android, the Normandy will run a forked version of Android. Also Read - Nokia XR20 rugged 5G phone launched: Check specs, price, India launch details
Like BGR India exclusively reported earlier this month, the Normandy is the first of a planned portfolio of entry-level smartphones that will be priced below the most affordable Lumia smartphone to take on cheap Android smartphones from local players in some of the fastest growing markets in the world. The Normandy is likely to be priced between $100-$125 with the aim of bringing the prices into the $75 mark over a year.
Nokia hopes that these smartphones would eventually replace the current full-touch Asha phones, which will be positioned at even lower price points. The idea is that the current S40-running Asha platform is not powerful enough to bring all Microsoft services to a product targeted at first-time Internet users.
The Normandy, will be able to run Skype among other Microsoft services including its Office suite, SkyDrive cloud storage and sync service as well as Outlook among others. This forked Android solution, however is a stop-gap arrangement at best till Nokia under Microsoft can figure out a way to bring Lumia smartphones at lower price points.
Since the Normandy runs on a forked version of Android, it won’t have access to most Google services that are available on Android smartphones. Nokia will have its own app store on the phone. Google Maps will be replaced by Nokia Maps, whereas Google Search will be replaced by Microsoft’s Bing search and Gmail by Outlook. From what BGR India has learnt from developers already working at bringing their apps to this platform, customizing apps for Nokia’s fork is not time consuming and most apps that don’t call out any Google service should be able to work by simple sideloading.
At this point in time, the Normandy is scheduled to be announced at next month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. However, plans can change if Microsoft’s acquisition deal is completed before that though we have learnt that Microsoft is said to be on board with the forked Android plan for the time being. But with things not clear about who will succeed Steve Ballmer as Microsoft’s CEO and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop coming back in the fray with Ford’s Alan Mulally bowing out, no one can tell for sure what will eventually happen.