January 8, 2014 11:47am
There’s more evidence today that Nokia has been working on an Android device for developing markets. The company has been long-rumoured to developing a low-cost smartphone, dubbed Normandy, with a forked version of Android. This means that the device would not have access to Google Play, but would be supported via a third-party app ecosystem of some sort.
Nokia likely started working on the product long before its handset division was purchased by Microsoft, which is in the process of integrating the Finnish OEMs many employees into its Devices & Services group. As a result, leaks like this may be the only public evidence of the product we see, as Microsoft is likely loathe to release an in-house product running on a competing platform (even if it is warming up to the idea of dual-booting the operating systems).
The leak shows design inspirations from Asha, Nokia’s line of low-cost “smart” feature phones, and Windows Phone, but this is definitely Android. The Normandy device itself seems destined for the Indian market, as evinced by the dual-SIM support. Nokia has a very strong presence in India, and has found a lot of success with its Asha line, lending credulity that it was planning to use Android as a way to make the line “smarter” without adding costs.
There is a colourful playfulness to the interface elements, from the swipeable notifications to the distinct Nokia sans-serif typography, that is missing from many Android skins today. The phone itself, at least from the rendered outline, resembles a diminutive Lumia product, sporting a single capacitive back button below the screen.
The leak also jibes with recent evidence that the device, model number Nokia A110, has been tested on popular Android benchmarking tool, AnTuTu. The device reportedly comes with an 854×480 pixel display and has a 5MP rear camera, as well as a Snapdragon chip of unknown speed or origin.
Finally, the recent test build is of Android 4.4.1, meaning that Normandy is very much still in development, and may still see the light of day.