WSJ: Nokia to launch Android phone at MWC, will run Nokia’s own Android store

February 10, 2014
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Nokia Normandy

The Wall Street Journal confirms in a new report that Nokia is going to release an Android-powered smartphone at the Mobile World Congress later this month.

The device will be “tailored in a way that won’t promote some of the key Google-developed features that a more traditional Android-powered phone might”, say people familiar with the matter cited by the WSJ. In other words, despite some speculation of the contrary, Nokia is indeed forking Android, and its devices won’t be compatible with Google’s Play store and other set of applications.

Instead of Google’s apps like Gmail and Maps, the device will feature apps from Nokia and Microsoft, including the Here map service and the Mix Radio music service. Nokia will also be offering an app store of its offering Android apps.

As previously reported, Nokia was working on this Android fork back when Microsoft was preparing to make an offer for the Finnish company in the summer of last year. Microsoft is said to have several reasons for using Android along with its own Windows Phone operating system, including the need to utilize Nokia’s manufacturing capabilities and to offset some of the high costs of running its mobile division. Another big reason is, according to the WSJ’s sources, the fact that Windows Phone cannot run on low-end devices, forcing Microsoft to be “pragmatic” and adopt software made by its fiercest competitor for the entry-level smartphone segment.

nokia normandy ui 2

The alleged UI of Nokia’s Android implementation

Over the past weeks, several reports have painted an almost complete image of Nokia’s upcoming Android device, codenamed Normandy. The device will feature entry-level specifications and a design that reminisces of the Asha line, while on the software front, Nokia’s UI designers created a hybrid between Android and Windows Phone.

Nokia sent out invitations for an MWC event scheduled for the morning of February 24, which in the light of this report, seems a safe bet for the debut of Normandy. The theme of the event is “Under the Tree”, a possible clue to the commercial name of Nokia’s forked Android implementation.

Will be at MWC 2014, and Nokia will definitely be high on our priority list. What do you hope to see?

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