WSJ: Nokia X Android phone to be unveiled this month at MWC

Nokia's often-rumored first Android device, the Nokia X (previously known by the code name "Normandy"), may actually get unveiled despite Microsoft's impeding acquisition of Nokia's smartphone unit. According to a new report, it will even come soon: at Mobile World Congress near the end of the month.

The news comes from the Wall Street Journal, which cites its confidential sources who claim Nokia will indeed reveal the handset later this month in Barcelona. Nokia has already sent out invites for their MWC event, but it looks like the company may have a surprise in store for attendees.

Nokia's Android smartphone has been long rumored, and several leaks related to this handset have revealed its general appearance. Destined for developing markets, this device is Nokia’s attempt to change the operating system on its Asha line of products. While Microsoft’s Windows Phone has been used on all of Nokia’s smartphones, the very cheap handsets in its low-end line can’t handle this operating system’s hardware requirements.


A mockup made from leaks: The Nokia X phone running the forked version of Android with a custom UI

The Nokia X will use a heavily modified version of Google’s Android operating system. This won’t be the same OS you find on Samsung Galaxys or Nexus tablets; rather, this will be a forked version of the AOSP, with little ties to the search engine giant. Just like Amazon did with its Kindle tablets, the version of Android used by Nokia’s X phone will feature a very different UI and have its own separate App Store, without promoting any of Google’s services.

The launch and reception of such a device will no doubt be of great interest. Many folks have prayed for Nokia to switch to Android over the years, but the company never did. The Nokia X may very well be the last phone Nokia ever launches now that Microsoft’s purchase of the company's smartphone unit is almost complete.

It will be extremely interesting to see if Microsoft will be pragmatic in its approach and allow the Android project to continue for low-end devices or if it corrects course and brings all of Nokia’s projects back into the Windows fold.

Source: The Wall Street Journal Image via @evleaks

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you people really aren't getting the point of this phone are you? its not an android phone its an asha phone. who cares really if its running s40 or this forked version.

I not just talking about this phone I am talking this phone I am talking about android in general people need to understand the android is fragmented. People think at this point froyo is the same as kitkat witch it is not. Kikat 2% of the market as opposed to IOS that has greater then 70% of its own market.

its already been leaked that dual sim wp8.1 devices are coming. this device is simply nokia's asha phone line nothing more, really whats the difference if its running s40 or this forked version, at the end of the day its an asha phone.

Why do people continue to call this an Android phone? It's not. Do we now start calling Android phones Linux Phones just because it is based on a linux kernel?

wow one person in this whole thread seems to get it, its not an android phone, this is an asha device that was updated from s40, for various reasons, to a forked version of android.

Damn.... I missed the point of it being a custom android made for low e d hardware


I would love 1020 with the latest android. Or the even iOS.

I seriously don't want to switch, again ... After years of iPhones and now androids...


But I love nokia hardware. Always did

yes its not anything like the android you have on your samsungs or HTC, it was made as a replacement for s40 with low development costs involved.

Why can't Nokia just launch the phone with Android with a custom launcher like Touch Wiz and Sense? They don't need to deal with developers not updating their apps for the Nokia app store, the phone will nicely work with the Google Play Store and the consumers are well, happy!

cyrl said,
Why can't Nokia just launch the phone with Android with a custom launcher like Touch Wiz and Sense? They don't need to deal with developers not updating their apps for the Nokia app store, the phone will nicely work with the Google Play Store and the consumers are well, happy!

Their sale has a 2 year non-compete with Microsoft for phones, for starters

My thoughts on the matter

1. Until the Devices and Services is officially sold to MS, business as usual for Nokia.
2. This could be the reason why MS wanted to finish the deal before the end of Q1 to stop this project.
3. Or I can go by the rumor that it is a MS service laden version of Android.

If that's the best UI Nokia could come up with without Microsoft's influence, then yeah, it's a good thing they sold their phone division.

froggyliver said,
Microsoft should just focus on improving their WP OS.
Ita a good thing that this isnt coming from Microsoft then right?

"...the very cheap handsets in its low-end line can't handle this operating system's hardware requirements"
From my understanding, WP is able to run smoother on lower-end requirements than Android can. So I find this part of the article strange. But given that these devices are only offered in developing markets, you won't be seeing it in North America that's for sure.

It's also pretty obvious once Microsoft acquires Nokia, Windows will be put on these devices. Otherwise it would go against Microsoft's vision of "Windows everywhere" which they're heavily pushing... and will more once the WP and Win9 merge into one. Otherwise it would be a poor business move to manage 2 separate OS's and App stores.

j2006 said,
It's also pretty obvious once Microsoft acquires Nokia,

Its more likely they will be discontinued. No use putting WP of these since they have the Lumia line.

j2006 said,

From my understanding, WP is able to run smoother on lower-end requirements than Android can.

The smoothness you refer to is just the OS drawing at a fixed fps rate vsynced to the screen's refresh rate. That's why Android phones are buttery smooth now because of project butter / Android 4.1. It's only visual perception similar to what you get in 3d games. It really has little to do with performance in most cases just inconsistencies.

The reason WP appears smooth is because it's interface is basically just a flash player running at a constant frame rate with many animations to hide loading delays.

The fact that Android can quite happily run on 256mb of ram if customised and Windows Phone 8 can't has something to do with it. But that's not the only thing. Windows Phone 8 has a lot of strict requirements which a custom Android doesn't:
http://www.liveside.net/2012/1...2-ram-the-new-tango-of-wp8/. That makes it hard to target the low end in emerging markets. It's just a fact that WP8 doesn't scale very well.

simplezz said,

The smoothness you refer to is just the OS drawing at a fixed fps rate vsynced to the screen's refresh rate. That's why Android phones are buttery smooth now because of project butter / Android 4.1. It's only visual perception similar to what you get in 3d games. It really has little to do with performance in most cases just inconsistencies.

The reason WP appears smooth is because it's interface is basically just a flash player running at a constant frame rate with many animations to hide loading delays.

The fact that Android can quite happily run on 256mb of ram if customised and Windows Phone 8 can't has something to do with it. But that's not the only thing. Windows Phone 8 has a lot of strict requirements which a custom Android doesn't:
http://www.liveside.net/2012/1...2-ram-the-new-tango-of-wp8/. That makes it hard to target the low end in emerging markets. It's just a fact that WP8 doesn't scale very well.

Having a base hardware requirement doesn't mean the OS itself can't run on lower spec'd hardware, they've always had minimums hardware requirements for WP to keep a constant experience, a large part of the reason why WP7.x ran on 256MB hardware was because MS limited how much RAM apps and games could use in their process, that's not the case with WP8 and this is why you see lots of games that will only run on 1gb devices. This is why they've also raised the minimum hardware requirements otherwise even less games and apps would be available to users with any 256mb phones.

simplezz said,

The smoothness you refer to is just the OS drawing at a fixed fps rate vsynced to the screen's refresh rate. That's why Android phones are buttery smooth now because of project butter / Android 4.1. It's only visual perception similar to what you get in 3d games. It really has little to do with performance in most cases just inconsistencies.

The reason WP appears smooth is because it's interface is basically just a flash player running at a constant frame rate with many animations to hide loading delays.

The fact that Android can quite happily run on 256mb of ram if customised and Windows Phone 8 can't has something to do with it. But that's not the only thing. Windows Phone 8 has a lot of strict requirements which a custom Android doesn't:
http://www.liveside.net/2012/1...2-ram-the-new-tango-of-wp8/. That makes it hard to target the low end in emerging markets. It's just a fact that WP8 doesn't scale very well.

One more reason Android is "buttery smooth" now is because of the gigantic amounts of processing power the chips have.

Maybe WP can't run on 256MB of RAM, but the Nokia X seems to be getting 512MB. In fact, the specs seems to be a perfect match for WP8, not unlike Lumia 520.

So Nokia is going to have its own store. Just what we need, another app store to populate. Shall see how this takes off....dont think it will take off myself. But weirder things have happened. Not questioning the build quality...but the software UI looks like crap.

It will be a ghost town. Most Android apps rely on GMS from Google. Without it, Nokia would have to reimplement all those services. Basically any app which has in app purchases or uses maps etc won't work.

This could be a flop, or a brilliant move. Time will tell. One thing it will do is get people that can only afford bottom end phones to get to use a Windows Phone 8 look-(kind of)-alike android device. Very interesting. It might bring more people to Windows phone in the long run, if well implemented.

seeprime said,
This could be a flop, or a brilliant move. Time will tell. One thing it will do is get people that can only afford bottom end phones to get to use a Windows Phone 8 look-(kind of)-alike android device. Very interesting. It might bring more people to Windows phone in the long run, if well implemented.

This^

It could be a sneaky 'hidden' type of cross-promotion, just like you stated, getting people the 'feel' of WP, then they end up just saying "oh forget this android crap, gonna just use a WP".

"last phone Nokia ever launches".... for a while; Nokia could easily come back producing smartphones in few years. The question is if the company will decide to do it.

Having sold off their entire phone manufacturing business, Nokia could not "...easily come back producing smartphones in few years." They would have to rebuild that entire business from the ground up.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
Having sold off their entire phone manufacturing business, Nokia could not "...easily come back producing smartphones in few years." They would have to rebuild that entire business from the ground up.

Do you think that Apple owns the factories where the iPhone is built? They do not. What Nokia would have to do is to assemble a team to engineer a device, brand recognition is already established.

It isn't just the factories. It's the people, the intellectual capital, the entire infrastructure. You don't put together a 30K employee business with that many years of experience overnight. "Easily" is ludicrous.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
It isn't just the factories. It's the people, the intellectual capital, the entire infrastructure. You don't put together a 30K employee business with that many years of experience overnight. "Easily" is ludicrous.

Are you aware that the 30,000 employees include the workers of the factories?
The bottom line is that in three years, not overnight, would see such business segment as a potential lucrative one they could, note the "could" , not "will", re-enter it. Or they could take over Jolla.

"could" is not the same as "easily could" - where "easily" was the operative keyword. Possibly choose your words more precisely?

You didn't simply say they "could", you said they "easily could".
I didn't say they "couldn't", I said they "could not, easily".

Word choices affect meaning.

If you want to be pedantic I will repeat"easily could". Easier task than integrate 30,000 people to your existing structure I would add.

Fritzly said,
If you want to be pedantic I will repeat"easily could". Easier task than integrate 30,000 people to your existing structure I would add.
If you assume that MSFT won't do the same type of "integration" with Nokia they did with Skype, which is to say they more-or-less let Skype continue to operate as it's own entity.

And pedantic would be to quibble over grammar. This is an issue with actual words you used, which alter the meaning of what you said. If you don't get that, well, then this is just a "who got the last word" argument. One I am happy to let you win.

No, it is pedantic because I replied and I did not literally repeated what I previously stated.
Of course if in a conversation you prefer to continuously repeat the same exact phrases, good for you. Different people, different styles.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
Having sold off their entire phone manufacturing business, Nokia could not "...easily come back producing smartphones in few years." They would have to rebuild that entire business from the ground up.

Indeed. As they Nokia said, they have become deskilled in that area. On top of all that, the whole smartphone business is brutal, with razor thin margins. Why on earth would they want to get back into it -- and possibly end up where Blackberry is.

I don't think nokia shareholders would be too happy when they have just sold of the mobile division to invest another crap load of money to start from scratch again.

Let's be honest, Microsoft will just use it as the Asha replacement, keep making it knowing they'll be getting all the money and none will go to Google. Until they can make WP hit the same price point and discard it to the side...

Unlikely that MSFT would simply ditch it. More likely it becomes the on-ramp to full smartphone upgrades to WP devices. They are purchasing the Asha business, after all. Those feature phones are not just going to go away.

Ohh they'll keep it for 2 years probably, but by then the smartphone will probably be the defacto phone by then if they become cheap enough. Just hinges on that last point

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
Unlikely that MSFT would simply ditch it. More likely it becomes the on-ramp to full smartphone upgrades to WP devices. They are purchasing the Asha business, after all. Those feature phones are not just going to go away.

They'll build feature phones, and might use the Normandy hardware; that doesn't mean they will use Android. They'd rather plod along with existing stuff and a low-end WP build using the same kernel.

MS will not ditch these phones as they are simply just the asha line of phones that ms purchased in the deal with nokia, and they will continue to be asha devices whether they are running s40 or this forked version of android.

and the point of this is what exactly? it's a given MSFT will not keep it, support it etc. And other than china, everybody nodded the acquisition. Why hasn't MSFT just squashed this thing like a bug? is it just some rogue employees at nokia wanting to complicate life for their new boss before they are let go? What could possibly benefit MSFT from having such phone out in the market while everybody knows it is dead on arrival?

The "point" would be to replace the dead-end Asha OS with a new one that bundles MSFT services in the OS instead of Google's. It also means a store exists already and android app developers can target this new OS with their existing apps.

See the "point" now?

neonspark said,
and the point of this is what exactly? it's a given MSFT will not keep it, support it etc. And other than china, everybody nodded the acquisition. Why hasn't MSFT just squashed this thing like a bug? is it just some rogue employees at nokia wanting to complicate life for their new boss before they are let go? What could possibly benefit MSFT from having such phone out in the market while everybody knows it is dead on arrival?

I doubt that " a rogue employee" could accomplish a task of such magnitude....

neonspark said,
and the point of this is what exactly? it's a given MSFT will not keep it, support it etc. And other than china, everybody nodded the acquisition. Why hasn't MSFT just squashed this thing like a bug? is it just some rogue employees at nokia wanting to complicate life for their new boss before they are let go? What could possibly benefit MSFT from having such phone out in the market while everybody knows it is dead on arrival?

Microsoft could make android devices cheaper then any other company in the world.. because they do not need to pay any royalties.. therefore they could undercut any other android manufacturer. While also putting windows phone on every phone as well to dual boot..

Lachlan said,

Microsoft could make android devices cheaper then any other company in the world.. because they do not need to pay any royalties.. therefore they could undercut any other android manufacturer.

Not when you account for the additional develop costs of using AOSP without GMS. Just ask Amazon. It's a costly affair, and the result is often app incompatibilities and poor functionality.

Lachlan said,

While also putting windows phone on every phone as well to dual boot..

Windows Phone can't run on these low end phones. Didn't you read the article?

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
It also means a store exists already and android app developers can target this new OS with their existing apps.

In practise this doesn't happen. Just look at the Kindle line from Amazon. A lot of apps are incompatible because Amazon has to try and replicate the GMS services for them to work. AOSP is very barebones without GMS, which is why most OEM's don't fork Android.

simplezz said,

In practise this doesn't happen. Just look at the Kindle line from Amazon. A lot of apps are incompatible because Amazon has to try and replicate the GMS services for them to work. AOSP is very barebones without GMS, which is why most OEM's don't fork Android.
I read that article too.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
The "point" would be to replace the dead-end Asha OS with a new one that bundles MSFT services in the OS instead of Google's. It also means a store exists already and android app developers can target this new OS with their existing apps.

See the "point" now?

I don't see the point..... the Lumia 520/525 could easily take its place instead. It's VERY cheap. They must have stripped away 9/10 of Android (4.4.1) to make it run efficient on that hardware, and the hardware in question if very capable of running WP8. So.. what the point? Market segmentation?

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
The "point" would be to replace the dead-end Asha OS with a new one that bundles MSFT services in the OS instead of Google's. It also means a store exists already and android app developers can target this new OS with their existing apps.

See the "point" now?

No. This is less likely than Microsoft using Webkit in Internet Explorer, because, hey, it's a lot of work making a rendering engine. Microsoft would rather burn a billion dollars than launch an Android phone, however forked its development.

Microsoft isn't just about making money -- like Apple and Google, they have boatloads to spare. More than anything, they want to win mindshare, which you can't do by using something someone else's stuff.

Besides, they don't want Android apps made for their stuff. They want Visual Studio developers who write Windows apps for Phone, Tablet, Desktop, and Xbox.

this phone was in development before the ms/nokia deal and as business practices go Nokia can not deviate from that until the deal is complete. this is simply the new asha device running a forked version of android because the s40 os on asha devices is not that good and is getting old. come mwc this will be marketed as an asha phone, nothing else. people have read to much into the android nokia phone.

Talys said,
Besides, they don't want Android apps made for their stuff.
They're not like Google and do release apps for both Android and iOS.

I actually don't understand this article. I thought that Nokia sold off the phone division to Microsoft. With that said how can this phone be "shown off"?

The deal is not final and because of regulatory and anti-trust concerns, Nokia must continue to operate as if the deal is not going to be finalized.

red hook said,
I actually don't understand this article. I thought that Nokia sold off the phone division to Microsoft. With that said how can this phone be "shown off"?

always a chance it wont happen.. the EU can deny the sale because it is "not in the best interest of the EU".. but this usually upsets shareholders of all the companies.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
The deal is not final and because of regulatory and anti-trust concerns, Nokia must continue to operate as if the deal is not going to be finalized.

This is the most accurate post about this phone....this phone is DOA and just creating buzz for new wp handsets.

Lachlan said,

always a chance it wont happen.. the EU can deny the sale because it is "not in the best interest of the EU".. but this usually upsets shareholders of all the companies.

The EU has already approved the deal, IIRC. They're still waiting for China though.

Lachlan said,

always a chance it wont happen.. the EU can deny the sale because it is "not in the best interest of the EU".. but this usually upsets shareholders of all the companies.

The EU approved the sale some time ago

Hikimori said,
The EU has already approved the deal, IIRC. They're still waiting for China though.

Given that the DOJ and EU will approve Lenovo buying Motorola I don't see why they would oppose it.

After sale to Microsoft, Nokia will not be able to manufacture phones until the year 2023. Then the only way this can happen is it has to be a Windows Phone.