Nokia Normandy: the android device that might actually be

11 February 2014

Rumours of the ill-fated Nokia Normandy Android device are resurfacing thanks to an article in the Wall Street Journal that predicts a Nokia Android announcement this a month.

Months ago there was wild speculation around the web about a leak from the infamous evleaks that showed off an apparently Android device from none other than Nokia, called the Nokia Normandy. Unfortunately, the mobility section of Nokia was then arranged to be sold off to Microsoft and all hope of the Normandy ever seeing the light of day vanished.

Is it actually likely?

For now we’ll say it’s possible. There are a lot of reasons that Nokia and even Microsoft might want this device to go ahead.

For one, all the user interface (UI) leaks have showed a heavily-skinned version of Android. It actually looks a lot more like Windows Phone than any droid we’ve ever seen, which could be a clever ploy to ease Android users in to the Windows ecosystem.

It could even be as innocent as an attempt to improve the Nokia brand name by reaching a broader audience. If the Normandy is picked up and appreciated by Android users, then they may feel more comfortable following Nokia over to WP when their contract is up and it’s time for a new device.

More likely is that it will be a budget phone of specific and limited functionality, aimed at emerging markets.

Nothing normal about the Normandy

One thing is certain from the WSJ article: this will be no ordinary Android device.

"The Nokia phones will differ from most other Android smartphones, and won't access some Google-developed features or Android apps from the Google Play storefront, said the people familiar with the matter." - WSJ

The single biggest complaint about the entire Windows Phone ecosystem right from its inception until the current day has been the lack of app support. Why Nokia and Microsoft would choose to release an Android device with the same problem is confounding at best.

If this is the case, the Normandy will probably be a low-cost device aimed at emerging markets. Nokia and Microsoft have both hugely miscalculated the value of these markets in recent years and lost almost all of their market share to Android. This is particularly bad for Nokia, which used to be the king of the emerging tech world.

Everything about this rumour is confusing. Yes, there are ways that Nokia and Microsoft could make an Android phone work to their mutual advantage, but without access to the Play Store we just don't see it happening. Even if this is a phone aimed at purely overseas markets, the ecosystem may be too app-limited without the Play Store to entice repeat buyers in the future.



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