Nokia's Android UI revealed, draws inspiration from Windows Phone

Information about Nokia’s Android handset, codenamed Normandy, has been leaking out all over the place. Images of the phone have been popping up over the last few weeks, and now we have the best look yet at it's interface.

The UI clearly takes notes from Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, but don’t be fooled: Android is running the show under the hood. If this device were ever released, it would be quite interesting to see how consumers viewed it. Would they think it’s Windows Phone, or would they call it an Android device? 

It seems clear that Nokia likes the Windows Phone layout, as it was mimicked with Android, which would help the company keep all of its products UI on the same visual parity.

It looks like the phone has a dual-SIM setup, which likely means the Android device was set for the Asian or African markets where dual-SIM phones are more popular, and that it uses the same type of shell that we see on the Lumia lineup.

The device certainly has a Nokia look and feel to it, and it seems clear that the company was going to add their own touch to the device and not simply ship a stock version of Android. This isn’t a major surprise, as Nokia has been doing as much customization as possible (shipping several exclusive apps) with its Windows Phones to help separate them from the pack.

It’s quite clear that the device does exists and that it has been manufactured, even if only in the prototype stages, which likely caused Microsoft to buy the smartphone business from Nokia. The real question remains is if we will ever see this product hit retail shelves. We would love to see a Nokia-built Android device, but considering that the company's handset unit will soon be owned by Microsoft, we highly doubt this product will ever make it outside the walls of Nokia.

Source: @evleaks@vizileaks

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Almost a one on one copy of the Modern UI.
Without MS buying up the phone part of Nokia, this could have gone ugly when Nokia released this phone. I don't think MS would have accepted such a blatant copy of their UI styling...

Well, if it's going to mimic a windows phone, why bother with android at all?
(Unless it's because of apps support, in which case, I just answered my own question)
Just seems a little pointless, reworking android os to look, feel, and possibly behave like an os that is already available.

Haha, holy crap.

This would probably just confuse users. An amateur user may easily start expecting Nokiandroid to work like Windows Phone just because it looks extremely similar, when in reality they are two completely different operating systems with different ways of doing things.

I doubt the Nokia UX team actually liked what they were doing here, and that they were forced to do it due to orders from above. It doesn't exactly look like a labor of love, but an uninspired half-assed clone of Metro.

If it hits the shelves, I'll be here with the popcorn on Twitter and listen to the reactions.

Edited by Northgrove, Jan 17 2014, 9:05am :

An OS they aren't focusing on crappyfied with a bastardized version of the UI of a phone OS that isn't doing all that good...

Go home Nokia, you are drunk.

At first I was warm to the idea of a Nokia Android phone but if the interface was going to look like THAT then yikes, glad its dead...I thought it would be impossible to make an interface uglier than WP/Metro, I was wrong

That is so ugly. Microsoft needs to do away with the Metro look. Metro has been rejected on the desktop and even on their mobile UI. It's messy and it's ugly.

I would not be surprised if Normandy does well in Europe. I contend that the reason why Windows Phone is doing okay in Europe is because of brand familiarity to Nokia. After all, the majority of them were using Symbian and I don't think that the average user really cares about operating systems in the first place. I don't even think they know or care that their phone has Windows Phone under the hood. If Normandy is released and it does well, then my theory can be said to be proven true.

Wow, they managed to make the tile UI look even worse than it already did on WP! Go back to MS, Nokia. We don't need you in the Android market if this is what you've got.

Are those live tiles? Otherwise its a waste of space. Probably wont look as good either in real life if its static. This also underlines Windows Phone's problem. Most people who dislike it never saw one up close, let alone tried it out. They don't know the charm of live tiles so how could they appreciate it?

This looks horrible - glad it never saw the light of day - it is so confusing looking and not pretty at all...

meh. good thing nokia is now a networking company and this blasphemy will join the nexus Q in heaven of unreleased products.

they turned windows phone UI from beautiful to ugly even notification center looks ugly, random unprofessional design

lol "beautiful"? I've never heard of a Microsoft interface regarded as beautiful...least of all WP...unless you meant from ugly to hideous?

Sonne said,
lol "beautiful"? I've never heard of a Microsoft interface regarded as beautiful...least of all WP...unless you meant from ugly to hideous?
that because you need new glasses WP UI got a lot of prizes for the design which conform my comment

In all of these leaks there isn't anything about the specs. I would hate to imagine what this thing would run like if it really is only slightly faster than current asha phones.

I wonder if one day we will be able to choose our handset then choose what OS goes on it? (pretty much like we do with PC's Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Ubuntu etc etc etc)

not if google has anything to say about that. you be the moment an OEM does this, they'll get kicked out of the Open handset alliance because you know, it's open...and stuff.

I know, right? As are all the sites like Neowin too of course. They can't even write anything new about it since all they have are a few more images to show every time, so they recycle the same article content over and over.

Nokia will soon have ZERO mobile phone business, none, nada. How can talk still exist in regard to 'if this makes it to market' - it wont, period, Nokia sold their PHONE business to MS, and MS will kill this with fire.

Still, makes for page hits I suppose

I doubt its even android. there are screenshots of apps like Skype and viber,which the UI does not match the android versions. I highly doubt Microsoft created a Skype app for a Nokia android device.

vcfan said,
I doubt its even android. there are screenshots of apps like Skype and viber,which the UI does not match the android versions. I highly doubt Microsoft created a Skype app for a Nokia android device.

Maybe those were earlier versions of the apps. Everywhere is stating this is an Android phone.

techbeck said,
Still Android underneath...so an Android phone it is.

is it? google owns that trademark so they can't call it that. it is a Linux phone before it is an android phone which is very google specific. this has zero google on it.

actually not a bad idea although kind of pointless if WP does become free as rumored and companies like bluestacks keep porting dalvik's android VM which allows for android apps to run outside of the android jail.

neonspark said,

is it? google owns that trademark so they can't call it that. it is a Linux phone before it is an android phone which is very google specific. this has zero google on it.

Yes, it is Android. Google has not prevented OEMs from using that word. Like saying Samsung's or HTCs phones are not android since they run a custom UI like Nokia. And if they are not Androids, then why are they all counted in the android market share and sales.

So doesnt matter if there is a custom UI at all. Still Android underneath running the Google/Android software.

CSheep said,
That pretty much looks *exactly* like the Windows Phone UI
It looks like a terrible Chinese copy of the Windows Phone UI

There was talk that this was meant for the Asha line, which would make sense.

IF (a big if) this device were to be released, I am curious as to whether they would make this port of Android Java compatible/compliant. Which would provide ammunition to Oracle in their ongoing case against Google.

That wouldn't make sense. Microsoft can replace the Asha line with lower Lumia models. The Lumia 520 can much cheaper:

- No licence costs for Windows Phone
- Less MP for the camera
- No FM Radio support (they already do this with Lumia 620, so why not with a 420/320?)
- Etc.

There are enough points where the Nokia Lumia 520 can be made cheaper to target the Asha market with a Lumia 320/420.

Studio384 said,
That wouldn't make sense. Microsoft can replace the Asha line with lower Lumia models. The Lumia 520 can much cheaper:

- No licence costs for Windows Phone
- Less MP for the camera
- No FM Radio support (they already do this with Lumia 620, so why not with a 420/320?)
- Etc.

There are enough points where the Nokia Lumia 520 can be made cheaper to target the Asha market with a Lumia 320/420.

Bear in mind that the Asha line is for developing countries. Those phones tend to retail for much lower prices than even the 520.

it has to be java compliant otherwise the dalvik vm won't run and apps won't work. however MS and oracle have settled the java war long ago so it google remains scroogled with oracle.

neonspark said,
it has to be java compliant otherwise the dalvik vm won't run and apps won't work. however MS and oracle have settled the java war long ago so it google remains scroogled with oracle.
Right. The issue at hand is how those apps don't work on other platforms that support Java. If MS goes that route and provides for the apps to be truly Java compliant, then that stands to make Android look even worse.

McKay said,

Why?


Android really really suck in my opinion, the only good thing about Android is that it has many more apps and the qualities of apps is kindda better than WP, but I'm fine with WP apps now it's getting better and better Love WP so much

Who in their right mind will use a copycat of WP in an old build of Android? I owned Iphones, Androids and now my beloved Lumia 1520 and this is the best GUI in a Phone. WP is the best out there and run incredible fast. While Android, because it depends on java, it got slow with the time past and clunky with too much files in the phone.

hungb.nguyen said,

Android really really suck in my opinion, the only good thing about Android is that it has many more apps and the qualities of apps is kindda better than WP, but I'm fine with WP apps now it's getting better and better Love WP so much

Number of apps do not matter. Its the kind of apps. You can find good quality apps on all platforms and you can find junk the same.

hungb.nguyen said,

Android really really suck in my opinion, the only good thing about Android is that it has many more apps and the qualities of apps is kindda better than WP, but I'm fine with WP apps now it's getting better and better Love WP so much

apps are better because developers put more time developing them, the core itself is a nightmare. no wonder most android phones suffer from low battery life and laggy interface.

CSheep said,

I figured it was the other way around?

For some app only I was talking about the Facebook app, Youtube app and official Instagram app, and I did say "it's getting better and better".
I managed to find a solution for these 3 apps: developer unlock your wp then deploy the old facebook app and youtube app xap files (which can easily be found on xda developer) into your wp; use 6tag instead of instagram solve!
Been loving my WP ever since
Again, I prefer WP to Android
btw, I don't like a cheap copycat UI of WP running on a trashy Android OS with low-end hardware anyway

hungb.nguyen said,
with low-end hardware anyway

Low end hardware? Nokia has been known for their hardware and there was no mention of phone specs that I saw. Unless I missed something.

techbeck said,

Low end hardware? Nokia has been known for their hardware and there was no mention of phone specs that I saw. Unless I missed something.


You did! I remembered reading somewhere else about some leaks/reports saying this device gonna be a low-end device, kindda like asha (try googling it, you'll see)

hungb.nguyen said,

You did! I remembered reading somewhere else about some leaks/reports saying this device gonna be a low-end device, kindda like asha (try googling it, you'll see)

Well, still doesnt matter much. Google/Moto proved that you dont need the specs of a Samsung Galaxy device to have a good operating Android phone. Their Moto X and G phones have gotten pretty good reviews.

macoman said,
Who in their right mind will use a copycat of WP in an old build of Android? I owned Iphones, Androids and now my beloved Lumia 1520 and this is the best GUI in a Phone. WP is the best out there and run incredible fast. While Android, because it depends on java, it got slow with the time past and clunky with too much files in the phone.

+2³

hungb.nguyen said,

Android really really suck in my opinion, the only good thing about Android is that it has many more apps and the qualities of apps is kindda better than WP, but I'm fine with WP apps now it's getting better and better Love WP so much

I've never used an WP phone, well I did own a Samsung Blackjack. But, I came from iOS after using it since 2009 and tried using Android phones twice. I had a HTC Aria which ran Froyo, sucked. I had a Samsung Note 1 which ran Jellybean, sucked. Always went back to my iPhone. Then the Nexus 5 came out, and I decided to try it since it was just stock Android, no bloatware. I love it. Android has came a long way from when I used it and I am not switching back to iOS.

I still have my iMac and iPad Mini though.

techbeck said,

Well, still doesnt matter much. Google/Moto proved that you dont need the specs of a Samsung Galaxy device to have a good operating Android phone. Their Moto X and G phones have gotten pretty good reviews.

lol, these moto phones you talk about are spaceships compared to asha's line. android is too bloated for asha's price point and hardware specs. WP is actually better suited as it has always ran buttery smooth on even single core cpus while android even had to make it a goal to achieve this and only did so when 2-4 core monsters started showing up.

neonspark said,

lol, these moto phones you talk about are spaceships compared to asha's line. android is too bloated for asha's price point and hardware specs. WP is actually better suited as it has always ran buttery smooth on even single core cpus while android even had to make it a goal to achieve this and only did so when 2-4 core monsters started showing up.

I was commenting on Android running on lower spec hardware. Which, like I said, Moto/Google has proven it can be done and work smoothly. Android is not without problems, like everything else, but they are making improvements...like everyone else is. Since ICS, android has been running smoothly on any device I owned.

So, i was not mentioning Asha or WP here. Just a comment about Android on lower end hardware. Yea, WP runs smoother on lower end hardware but if people want get really technical, there are many things Android can do, or do better, that WP cannot and vice versa. But that isnt here or there and why there is choice. Buy what suits your needs or preference.

techbeck said,

Dont like the tiles/look.

I don't like the look of a lot ofAndroid skins, doesn't mean I wish the phones don't exist. I'd love it if manufactuters offered a choice of Android or WP8 on their phones. I'd jump at the chance of a Lumia 1520 running stock Android.

McKay said,

I don't like the look of a lot ofAndroid skins, doesn't mean I wish the phones don't exist. I'd love it if manufactuters offered a choice of Android or WP8 on their phones. I'd jump at the chance of a Lumia 1520 running stock Android.

Stock Android? Yes, I'd get it as well.

Stock Android isn't bloated like Samsung devices are.