Nokia ‘to release Android phone’
Nokia ‘to release Android phone’
February 12, 2014   //   Tech   //   Comments are off

On the eve of its phones becoming part of Microsoft, Nokia is reportedly readying an Android smartphone. But don’t expect to see it in Australia.

Microsoft an Android phone supplier? According to reliable reports, that will soon be the case. The industry is abuzz with the news that Nokia will release a range of low-end Android based smartphones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), to be held in Barcelona in two weeks.

The rumours have been floating around for months. The new phones even have a codename – ‘Normandy’, and they may be branded ‘Nokia X’. They would replace the low end Asha phones, which Microsoft is acquiring along with the high end Lumia models, and which currently run Nokia’s dead end S 30 and S40 operating systems.

The normally reliable Wall Street Journal has run a piece which apparently confirms the rumours. Quoting its usual anonymous ‘people familiar with the situation’, the newspaper says that the Nokia devices will run a version of Android that will exclude access to the Google Play store and many Google services, but instead direct users to the Microsoft equivalents.

News agency Bloomberg has run a similar story, quoting its own unnamed sources. It appears Nokia is deliberately leaking the news ahead of the launch.

The WSJ says the phone will be meant for emerging markets, where the use of Android will enable the phones to be sold at a lower price, and indication that Android uses significantly less computing power than Windows Phone.

Bloomberg says Nokia will use the Android devices to bolster low end sales until it can produce Windows phones for that market segment. The devices are not expected to be released in Western markets, including Australia.

Stephen Elop, the former Nokia head who is now at Microsoft (again – he moved there from Microsoft) was roundly castigated by Nokia shareholders last year for committing the company to an all-Windows strategy. Sales of Windows-based smartphones have picked up, even outselling Apple iPhones in some major markets, but they are still perceived as being too expensive for emerging markets.

Nokia’s planned release of a low end Android based product put Microsoft in the interesting position of selling devices running a competing operating system. Neither Nokia nor Microsoft would comment.

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