Nokia's Android-powered Normandy phone has popped up in several leaked photos recently, though one question still remains: will Nokia actually launch an Android-powered smartphone before Microsoft finishes its acquisition? If it does, the device is likely to sit just above some of Nokia's entry-level Asha devices, which typically launch in emerging markets, so it may not be a huge threat to Windows Phone in developed smartphone markets.
As you might expect, Microsoft would prefer Nokia uses its Windows Phone operating system, and so isn't very "keen" on the idea, industry insider Eldar Murtazin told TechnoBuffalo. Murtazin said that the device will likely replace Asha in the near future and that, if it launches at all it will hit the market in February – or before Nokia's deal with Microsoft is finalized.
"I'm not sure Nokia will launch it," Murtazin warned, however, suggesting that there are "too many politics" around the project. Originally, however, Nokia hoped to get the device out the door in February. "Right now it's under question, no one can say definitely anything about launch."
Another source speaking under condition of anonymity with TechnoBuffalo sees things a bit differently. The source suggested that, perhaps, Microsoft will actually use Normandy in the low-end market as a sort of transition device to Windows Phone. In other words, the Normandy could potentially serve as a "Trojan Horse" to get people on the Nokia/Microsoft bandwagon before they move to a Windows Phone device. With a user interface that looks similar to the UI on Asha handsets, which itself borrows design cues from Windows Phone, and Nokia's excellent industrial design, users could potentially get adjusted to what Windows Phone, and Nokia's hardware, have to offer.
As we've seen in several leaks, the UI has a tile-based format similar to Windows Phone that's custom made by Nokia. The transition from an Android device to Windows Phone would be an easy one, at least now that more apps are available that span across both platforms. If users prefer to stay on Android with the Normandy, at least they're still buying a Microsoft/Nokia product as opposed to one that doesn't tie in with Microsoft at all.
So while we're seeing plenty of leaks, the phone still isn't a definite go… at least according to Murtazin. Nokia will need to try to squeeze it out the door as soon as possible if it ever wants the device to see the light of day. February's Mobile World Congress show could be a great place to show off Normany if it isn't scrapped by then.
"We don't comment on rumors or speculation," a Microsoft spokesperson told TechnoBuffalo when reached for comment. "Per company policy, we don't comment on market rumors or speculation," a Nokia spokesperson told TechnoBufflao.