The last few years have been pretty rough on poor ol'
Once the world's largest smartphone vendor, Nokia began this year
in the number-10 position, falling hard from the salad days of
low-end feature phones. After hitching its wagon to
), the handset maker began manufacturing solid devices that were
hamstrung by an underdeveloped and undersupported mobile OS,
causing them to languish in obscurity. And that was after former
CEO Stephen Elop famously noted the company's precipitous decline
in an infamous memo that blasted Nokia's feeble attempts to take on
), saying it now sits atop a "burning platform."
And now, a few months after Microsoft announced it will be
acquiring Nokia's mobile phone business, it would appear that Nokia
is forever tied to the Windows Phone OS with no hope of releasing a
fantastically built smartphone on a competing platform.
But that might not be the case,
according to The Verge
. Apparently, Nokia has been working on an Android phone,
code-named Normandy, which it may plan to release despite the
Pictured in a leak by famed tech snoop @evleaks
, the Normandy shows great similarity to Nokia's existing Lumia
line with a vibrantly colored case and a thin, squared-off build.
It looks as if there's one capacitive button for a back function,
but that might change prior to the official release. And although
it doesn't sport a rear camera nearly as large as the one found on
the Lumia 1020, knowing Nokia's penchant for smartphone-camera
quality, it should hold its own in the field.
At face value, the Normandy seems like it could be a fine entry in
the Android world and bestow a superb build quality on Google's
mobile masses. However, this device may not be an Android phone as
we know it.
Rumor has it that the Normandy will feature a forked version of
Android with a UI that's heavily modified, similar to
) Kindle Fire OS, and bear little resemblance to existing Android
phones. That means it's unlikely that the Normandy will have access
to the Google Play Store as well as most, if not all, Google
services. The Verge suspects it might fall more in line with
Nokia's Asha devices which are cheaper, more low-end, and target
In short, this is by no means a flagship smartphone.
Even though the Normandy isn't poised to blow the competition out
of the water, surely Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's smartphone
division would put the kibosh on any non-Windows device, right?
An insider at the Finnish company told the Verge that the Normandy
is still planned as a 2014 release, and efforts to bring the
product to market are being described as "full steam ahead." (How
soon it's released after the deal with Microsoft is finalized
remains to be seen.)
Making the device even sweeter for Redmond, additional sources told
AllThingsD that the Normandy bears more similarities to a Windows
Phone device than one running Android, boasting native Bing
searches and Skype video conferencing rather than Google's more
So fans pining for Nokia to deliver an Android device got their
wishes granted by a devious and deceptive genie, and considering
the corporate alliance, it's unlikely that a future Nokia release
will ever deliver the pure Google experience. That's also a sad
state of affairs for Nokia, a struggling company forced to produce
high-end devices with middling software.
If Nokia won't, or is unable to, develop for a larger smartphone
market, it risks losing the majority of its user base to a platform
with much greater support, causing its profits to drop further and
its product lines to suffer in obsolescence.
One need only look at
(BBRY) to see how easily that could happen.
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