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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