New leaks offer a few more peeks at “Normandy,” Nokia’s Android phone

When Microsoft announced its intention to purchase Nokia’s mobile handset division, they came away with two brands: Lumia and Asha. The Lumia line has been home to Nokia’s Windows Phone efforts. The Asha line, on the other hand, is based on Nokia’s Series 40 (S40) platform, which was first introduced in 1999. Nokia’s mysterious Android efforts have made the rounds more than a few times since the Fall. First, there was The New York Times coverage that established it as a credible rumor and an ongoing project. Then, the prolific @evleaks released several renders of the handset in question, giving us the codename we know it by: Normandy. Now, we get Normandy in the flesh.

The new leaks are reportedly from engineering prototypes, and they echo the designs seen in the previously leaked renders. The single back button is accompanied by a Nokia logo on the top of the device. A Nokia boot screen is shown in one image, while the UI is exposed in the other. The notification bar at the top of the device certainly mimics Android, but the rest of the design is foreign.

Microsoft isn’t shy about trying to compete in the developing markets that Asha does well in. And where Microsoft’s brand doesn’t have nearly the strength in the developing world as it does in other markets, the Nokia brand does. At GigaOm, Kevin Tofel makes the case that moving Asha from S40 to Android would allow them to tap right into the existing app ecosystem, following the model set by Amazon with its Kindles. Tailoring the interface to specific markets and developing a controlled app distribution model would give Nokia the opportunity to highlight the experiences that it wants highlighted: Microsoft’s own Skype, Outlook, and Office integration.

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via Ars Technica http://ift.tt/1hk3hlN

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