Is a Nokia Android phone in the works? The Finnish mobile handset manufacturer Nokia Corporation dominated the market from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s. While not the first company to commercialize the mobile phone, it was the first to elevate the device from mere utility to a multimedia machine with mainstream appeal. However, the advent of Apple Inc.’s revolutionary iPhone and handsets running on the new Android operating system lead to a new generation of smartphones, which Nokia was caught unprepared for with its dated offerings, and they soon went from frontrunner to limping in last place. In 2011 Nokia entered into a partnership with Microsoft and marketed a new line of products employing the latter’s proprietary Windows Phone operating system, in the hopes of not only stopping the bleeding but recapturing lost glory. Despite some small successes Nokia was unable to turn back the tide and in 2013 their entire mobile phone business was bought out by Microsoft for an estimated €3.79 billion.
It seemed however Nokia had eyes on a future outside of Microsoft before their fates were irrevocably tied to the company. Before the deal that had Microsoft acquire Nokia was announced, the latter was allegedly testing a Nokia Android phone through their Lumia devices, presumably preparing an alternative path for their business should they chose to sever their original deal with Microsoft in 2014. While Microsoft was knowledgeable that a Nokia Android phone project was ongoing, the existence of a Nokia Android phone wasn’t a factor in the acquisition negotiations. Nevertheless, such an outcome would’ve proved costly for Microsoft, as Nokia’s products comprise approximately 80% of their Windows Phone portfolio. Meanwhile Nokia would benefited tremendously from a Nokia Android phone, with Android controlling three quarters of the smartphone market, a substantial upgrade from the paltry 3% that Nokia currently possesses.
The prototype Nokia Android phone, originally dubbed “Mountain View,” was being developed by the Taiwanese manufacturing company Foxconn for Nokia in the latter’s offices in Beijing. The Nokia Android phone was based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 8225Q chipset and reportedly has 10,000 units of the prototype produced.
More details on the Nokia Android phone were leaked in the end of 2013 and early 2014 regarding the mystery project, know referred to as “Normandy”. An entry-level Nokia Android phone incorporating the old Lumia design, it is not unlike Nokia’s Asha lineup of low-cost smartphones. It will be running on a heavily-modified version of Android, similar to the one seen on Amazon’s range of Kindle Fire mini-tablets. Leaked pictures of the Nokia Android phone showed mock ups of the device’s launcher, in particular the lockscreen and a couple of applications. Some additional specifications were alleged by the tipster who broke the story, such as a 5MP rear camera, a 4″ FWVGA display (480×854 pixels) and a version of Android that runs on 4.4.1 KitKat.
The rumors suggest that the development for the Normandy (codename “Project N”) is well underway and that the Nokia Android phone may debut sometime in 2014 during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, although given Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s device and services units, it remains to be seen how much of this will actually come to pass.