Just what is Nokia up to? Screenshots emerge of a smartphone chimera

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The people of Finland live in fear. Though everything appears normal by day – when nightfalls it begins. Ungodly noises shriek out of the creepy castle on top of the fill – and cries of agony can be heard. Just what is going on up there? When cornered, villagers speak in hushed tones about what they’ve seen. “It’s… it’s… not natural”, they quiver.

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Rumour has it that Nokia have been building a monster. A chimera – Android phones designed to look an awful lot like they’re actually running Windows Phone. A droid in Bill Gates’ clothing.

In screenshots unearthed by the usually reliable evleaks, it shows the latest from Nokia’s “Normandy” programme – currently developing the firm’s first Android phones. The plan, apparently, is for the Android devices to appear on the low-end phones – presumably replacing the Nokia Asha series and its basic “feature phone” operating system.

The reason for dressing it up as Windows is because the plan is to encourage users to upgrade to fully fledged Nokia Windows phone device, like the Lumia 1520. Apparently they’ve taken a “fork” of Android, and modded it significantly (a bit like Amazon have done with the Kindle Fire) – so don’t expect the standard Android Google apps on each device.

To further confuse things, you might be able to spot Blackberry’s newly cross-platform BBM sat on the homescreen.

What’s really interesting though is the wider context in which this development is taking place: Nokia’s phone division are soon to be owned wholly by Microsoft (they’re going through the legal wrangling at the moment)… so whether any Normandy phone will ever see the light of day remains to be seen, given Microsoft are not going to want to encourage users to use a rival platform.

So for the people of Finland, there are perhaps more sleepless nights ahead whilst Nokia use lighting to try to animate this phone into life. Who knows… it might even already walk amongst us…!

James O’Malley
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