Report: Microsoft might actually let Nokia’s Android phone live

December 11, 2013

Nokia Normandy

A marriage between Nokia’s hardware and Google’s software has long been the dream of many a mobile user. But although Nokia tested Google’s OS internally, market watchers have consistently dismissed the possibility of a Nokia Android phone as a pipe dream. As it turns out, pundits were wrong.

Yesterday, The Verge reported about Normandy, an entry-level Android device from Nokia, that’s being developed at “full steam ahead” speed, despite the pending takeover from Microsoft.

Now AllThingsD confirms The Verge’s report from its own sources, and adds another twist to the story: Microsoft might actually let the Android project live.

There’s no guarantee that Microsoft will ever let Normandy see the light of day, but reportedly “within Nokia there is a sense that Redmond may be willing to pursue the project”. The software is said to actually be an Android fork that is incompatible with Google’s services, similarly to Amazon’s Fire OS on the Kindle Fires.

Nokia’s Android fork reportedly takes design elements from Microsoft’s Windows Phone, but it will still be able to run Android apps.

So, why would Microsoft want to run Android on its phones? It seems that the Redmond giant prefers to embrace Android and familiarize entry-level users with the look of Windows Phone, rather than rely on Nokia’s current Asha platform. In other words, Microsoft can’t beat Android in the fast-growing world of cheap smartphones, so it might adopt it.

If and when Normandy makes it to the market, the device will probably bear little resemblance to Android as we know it. Still, that day will go down in history as a momentous event with unpredictable repercussions. For now, the device is still in development, with a possible release early next year.

Comments

  • Edmalho

    Windows, a linux distro…
    Windows Phone, a Android distro…
    Sounds good!

  • MasterMuffin

    As long as it’s open, custom ROM (KitKat ♥) and then we have what we’ve all been waiting for: a good Nokia Android phone!

    • Lisandro O Oocks

      I think it all comes down to the hardware.
      However, even if say the Nokia 1020 was running KiKat, ppl could still argue that battery ain’t good enough, or is not 5″, a little bulky at the camera hump, too bezeld, it’s only dual-core…

      • MasterMuffin

        There’s always something to complain about :D

    • APai

      Nokia has been talking about beachhead / normandy as a strategy to break through into the mobile market. so perhaps this is their attempt at taking another crack at penetrating the market even further. so far, they’ve been stagnating after every push (which is very expensive). the only reason why nokia lumia series sells well is because of low end subsidized models

      • MasterMuffin

        And because of serious advertising!

        • samsparkin

          Yippee

        • Androidway

          No, this thing needs a bigger display since the buttons are on screen. It seems like a low end Android phone to me. I mean if they made one of their Lumias an Android phone, the whole company would be more successful. They should at least make their next Lumia a choice of either Windows or Android.

          • MasterMuffin

            Microsoft isn’t that stupid :D
            There’s that back button, so maybe there aren’t any on screen buttons? Maybe their Android fork utilises some sorts of gestures?

    • samsparkin

      Waiting for Ur comments always

  • APai

    avoid microsoft/ nokia like plague. a lot of people voted against microsoft because of the reason that on desktop / office they’ve been bullies and people were forced to put up with this wretched company.

    microsoft has been stymieing the move towards online (they failed). they have for long scuttled all moves to make office standards open (I hope they fail).

    someone else better take the third ecosystem spot – or even if microsoft exists, they are best in the sidelines!

  • Sal

    Nokia might finally have their glory days back. I’m looking forward to an excellent Nokia Android phones that can someday rival Samsung

  • benjamimgois

    So microsoft finally adopst the linux kernel… This is a historical moment.

    • MasterMuffin

      You know that Tux :)

      • samsparkin

        Nice

  • Alphons

    Please let this be true. I loved my Nokias back in the days…

  • gommer strike

    So hang on, this is a fork? And so in order to load Android apps, you’d need to sideload, as it’s “incompatible” with Google Play services?

    Just feels like they’re taking a step, yet afraid to go all the way.

    • Bogdacutu

      I’m pretty sure that if it gets released, people will be able to sideload Google Apps then use Play Store as usual.

  • Shark Bait

    android without google, pffttt that will be crap, who cares. too litte too late for nokia. Maybe they will have another go in 2 years time

  • zamroni

    At least 1 GB is needed to run Android properly. 512 MB is minimum for Kitkat but it will still mean struggling.
    What
    apps do the lower end user will use other than some popular social
    media apps, angry birds and chat apps? They are already available for WP
    and what Nokia should do is installing them by default so users don’t
    need to download manually.
    Because WP will likely run smoother than
    Android for same low spec hardware, I prefer to have low end WP phone
    than Android phone.