There are many a mysteries in the technology world right now, but none as stumping as Nokia’s Android strategy. The Finnish company is ready to hand over its devices and services business to Microsoft, with the deal expected to be complete any day now.
But the buzz among the bees is that Nokia is planning to launch an Android handset.
While such a device has been in the news for a months now (and we have been treated to a fair amount of leaked details and pictures) there are many that are still of the view that an Android powered Nokia handset is stuff of pure fantasy — a project that Microsoft will can after the acquisition.
With each passing week, however, Nokia’s end game is becoming clear.
The latest on the handset codenamed Normandy (also known as Nokia X) is that it is set for an unveil at MWC 2014. The Wall Street Journal believes this to be the case, claiming that the Finnish handset maker is almost certain to announce this Android smartphone at the prestigious trade fair.
In fact, the company has already confirmed the press event called “Meet Us Under The Tree”, which is scheduled for February 24. The handset aimed for emerging markets is apparently completely designed by the engineers at Nokia without any help from Microsoft.
And what about a custom forked version of Android that was earlier rumored?
While there was talk that Nokia Normandy would not come with Google services and applications preinstalled, and instead the company was preparing its own set of apps and a custom app store, this fact is yet to be confirmed in any capacity right now.
The handset itself is far from impressive — an absolute midrange, middle-of-the-road solution that is expected to let its affordable price do most of the talking. But there’s more to it than meets the eye.
There are rumors that this is just the start, and more Android sets are in the making.
Information coming from a new source hints that Nokia is also planning the launch of high-end devices powered by Android. And these will follow Nokia X (Normandy) later in the year.
You can read up on this rumor here.
The reality is that after the Microsoft acquisition is complete, Nokia will have a clean slate and will try to gain some Android market share with a device lineup of its very own. The second batch of such devices is expected in May or June this year, at multiple price points.
Nokia has a brand following, and the company (or what’s left of it after Redmond takes over) wants to make a name for itself in the Android arena with a new lineup of handsets.
How it fares with this remains to be seen — the Android ecosystem is highly competitive at the moment, and unless the company does something magical, its chances of attracting users in the high-end are rather low. In fact, even in the midrange it is a take-no-prisoners game right now.
Nokia, it is becoming increasingly clear, wants to puts its decades of mobile expertise into good use and break into the industry once again with a clean slate.
The phone may have been in development since before the Microsoft deal become official. But there are legions of Nokia fans the world over that have always loved the hardware the company has put on the store shelves, particularly in markets like Europe and Asia.
Going in independently with a fresh, clean slate, then, is demanding in itself.