There’s a lot of testing that occurs before any smartphone launch, though Nokia’s Android phone has been the topic of debate in the past several months. The big question surrounding the device has been whether or not Microsoft will actually let it see the light of day. Most recently, however, it appears that all systems are go for a February announcement during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Here’s something you might not know, though: the phone has been on the ground in testing in India since November:


Import data on Zuaba shows that the first 10 units of Nokia’s RM-980, otherwise known as the Nokia X or Nokia Normandy, first arrived in India from China back on November 30 for “testing and evaluation” purposes and for “inter-company” use only. If Microsoft wasn’t in favor of the launch – we told you politics were a big concern – Nokia certainly didn’t show any signs of easing up on testing. In fact, additional units shipped in December, followed by seven shipments in January and another thirteen this month.

India is probably going to be one of the launch markets, not only because this data clearly shows that, but because the Nokia Normandy may very well exist alongside (or replace, eventually) Nokia’s Asha handsets. The company is also likely going to target other emerging markets with its Android smartphone, which may serve as a gateway device for Windows Phone.

That’s one of the main reasons why Microsoft may support the launch, particularly if it provides access to its software and services at a cheaper price point than the company can enter with Windows Phone. Asha can’t provide those options because it’s not powerful enough to run Microsoft’s apps, like SkyDrive, Office and more, which are already available on Android.

We may also hear about other devices that have been in testing in India during Mobile World Congress, including the RM-964, the RX-115, the RM-977, the RM-976, the RM-978, the RM-974 and the RM-990, which likely include some dual-SIM Lumia devices, but the RM-980 is the one we have our eye on.