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.