If you had any doubts whether Nokia was indeed planning to launch an Android smartphone and was simply bluffing Microsoft into buying the company, lay them to rest. BGR India has exclusively learned that Nokia has started seeding the smartphone, codenamed Normandy, to developers in India. The company also shared some launch plans for the smartphone that includes a marketing blitz around IPL in early-April, multiple people BGR India spoke to have confirmed. Also Read - Nokia C20 Plus budget smartphone launched: Check specs, price and other details
The Normandy or Nokia X as it may be called at the time of launch is running the AOSP version of Android, which is the open source version of Android that can be used by anyone. However, it does not have any Google services on it so Nokia will have to develop its own app store for the platform, which is being called Asha on Linux (AoL) internally in the company. For this, Nokia recently started seeding the smartphone to key app developers in India in order to populate the app store. Sources had earlier told BGR India that Nokia had already succeeded in getting many of the top 100 apps on both the Play store and App Store to get their apps into its new store for AoL. Also Read - Nokia C01 Plus with an upgraded processor and bigger battery launched
App developers who have received the smartphone in India and elsewhere have told BGR India that getting their apps configured for AoL has been pretty easy with no major changes required. “The only thing developers have to ensure is there are no Google services callouts in the app. If the app does not call out any Google API, one can even sideload the same app APK that is available on the Play store,” a prominent developer told BGR India. Also Read - Apple’s Craig Federighi admits the level of Mac malware is not acceptable, iOS fairs better
Nokia is expected to announce the Normandy at its February 24 press conference at MWC in Barcelona. However, the smartphone is likely to be launched only some time later in March. According to people familiar with Nokia’s plans, the company is aiming to launch the smartphone around Rs 6,500 in India, but it could change depending on the prevailing exchange rate among other factors. This is close to the price that was alleged last week by a Vietnamese online retailer.
“Nokia does not want to price the phone too high and then slash it a couple of months later, which has been a problem for its Lumia smartphones,” a person familiar with the plans told BGR India. “They are also planning a marketing campaign that will coincide with IPL,” he added.
The Normandy is a strategically important phone for Nokia. It will be positioned between Asha and entry-level Lumia smartphones, which the company hopes will help it compete with cheaper Android smartphones. According to reports, the ‘Nokia X’ will feature a 4-inch WVGA display, 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, 5-megapixel camera and 1500mAh battery.
Since it cannot use Google services, Nokia will replace most of them with its own or Microsoft’s services. Apart from developing its own app store, Nokia will use its HERE service for maps and navigation, while use Outlook for replacing Gmail and Bing for search. It is most likely to have Skype pre-installed.