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

by: Bogdan PetrovanFebruary 10, 2014

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?

  • MasterMuffin

    I just hope it’s easily rootable → custom ROMs and gapps!!

    • nukular

      Then why not just buy any other entry level android phone?

      • MasterMuffin

        Because Nokia duuuh. Also I don’t necessarily mean AOSP ROM, just a ROM with some extra stuff

        • apianist16

          You know MM, the reason you like Nokia is almost exactly why Americans buy/like Apple. Homeland FTW!

          P.S. To avoid unnecessary comments, I am not an Apple fan.

          • MadCowOnAStick

            No it’s so we can throw the phone across the room and it’ll still be in one piece!

          • MasterMuffin

            All my phones have been made by Nokia before I went to Android world, so yea. They make quality products that aren’t overpriced

    • Solyuz

      I hope it comes rooted.

    • Cakefiend

      First thing I thought too :-)

  • AndroidBoss

    This does not look like Android. I hope they’re not trying to make Android look ugly like Windows 8.

    • Tuấn Ankh

      that’s even uglier than WP8 and W8. Nokia (Microsoft) is probably trying to sell low-end phones and make Android look bad at the same time, lol.

      • AndroidBoss


      • AndroidBoss

        Hopefully it’s some Asha shit.

    • link zero

      You can always slap some iphone launcher on it, and, Ta daaa! Nokia iPhone is born!
      off topic: I bet Nokia-iPhone fusion will become the most powerful smartphone on earth, lol lol.

  • u0rns

    they’ll never learn, phones without play store/gapps are doomed to fail. Anyone remember the creative tablets with the creative app store – those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it ;)

    • peterpunn

      uh – like the Kindle Fire line failed?

      • Cole Raney

        Kindle fire is more like the exception than the rule.

    • Solyuz

      Nokia could transform its Ovi store to support android apps, kinda like..
      Nokia Play Store ?

      *ducks taking cover from fan rage*

  • Raul

    I can’t wait to slap CM on this!

  • Nate

    I’m probably gonna steal the launcher and that’s about it.

  • Ben

    honestly whats the point of putting android on their phone without the google play store.

  • Aar0nC

    this phone will fail so hard!

  • guy with guts

    Android doesnt gets any uglier than this. Lame Nokia.

  • guy with guts

    Lame nokia fanboys will still buy this garbage.

    • Cakefiend

      Yes, but only to put CM on it ;-).

  • TheWay

    No offence but Android without Google goodies its not that interesting also that looks more like a Windows phone

  • Luka Mlinar

    This thing looks worse than WP. I didn’t think that was possible. No one’s gonna buy a phone with a UI that looks like a child finger painted it.

  • Microsoft is getting desperate, releasing a Lumia with no play store are you kidding me? That’s like a slap to the face of every Android user, no thanks stick to WP then, we don’t want you. Another thing that I found interesting in this article is when discussing reasons for Microsoft owned Nokia to release an Android device they say “the fact that Windows Phone cannot run on low-end devices” Are you kidding me? What do you call the Lumia 521 then, single core, 512mb RAM, and no front-facing cam. What do you call Any Lumia before the 920 for that matter, they were all using under-performing older parts compared to their Android rivals. If anything Windows Phone runs better on low-end devices than Android.

    • Cakefiend

      Agreed. If anything, MS/Nokia’s play for the low end was the major motivation for trimming the fat on Kit Kat.

      It’s hard to imagine them releasing an Android phone without crippling it in some way. Microsoft are probably thinking of the N9 embarrassment: Elop declares Meego a crock of shit, does his level best to bury N9 by not releasing it in any big markets or advertising it anywhere; N9 outsells all their Windows phones anyway. If Nokia released a decent Android phone, the sales would leave their Windows line in the dust.

  • Aniruddh

    So they are building a SMARTphone but removing the component that makes it smart: apps. Wow. Good Luck Microsoft, you are gonna need it.

  • Bell

    Nokia run android because of indonesia -_-