Nokia to launch “Normandy” Android smartphone

Nokia is set to unveil an Android handset, according to reports that come as Microsoft is in the midst of finalising its purchase of the handset maker.

Nokia to launch

The report, which comes via unnamed sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal, suggests Nokia will launch the Android handset at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of the month.

Odd as the report may seem, especially considering Microsoft’s €5.4 billion acquisition of the firm and the companies’ pre-existing deal to use Windows Phone, Nokia has been long-rumoured to be working on an Android handset.

The Nokia Android handset – which is codenamed Nokia Normandy, but expected to be called Nokia X at launch – wouldn’t necessarily compete with the Lumia line of smartphones, which run Windows Phone.

The report said the Android handset would be targeted at the low-end of the market. This would give Nokia a way back into emerging markets, where it once dominated with Symbian, but has since lost ground to Android phones.

The Android handsets will have their own app store and be skinned to direct users to Microsoft services, rather than those run by Google.

The report suggested the software may go further than a simple skin used by many handset makers and be a fully forked version of Android, such as that used on the Amazon Kindle Fire tablets.

Previous reports of the Nokia Normandy project suggested the UI would be tweaked to look like Windows Phone, and come with Bing and Skype preinstalled.

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