Nokia has been getting creative as it struggles to regain the market edge that it once enjoyed. That’s why Nokia currently offers a phone that’s as much camera as communications device. And it’s also why the company has been testing an Android-based device.
Nokia Joins The Droid Army
Code-named Normandy, this is a smartphone intended to help Nokia recapture some of the lower end of the market; in other words, people who want a smartphone, but don’t particularly care how things go from there. This is probably why Nokia has made the odd decision to run a “forked” version of Android, not dissimilar to what Amazon does with its Kindle platform.
The forking makes sense as Nokia has a whole host of proprietary technologies, from a mapping application that’s actually worth using to a music service that the jury remains somewhat out on. But it may also be somewhat controversial if this ever sees the shelves of stores, as forked versions of Android don’t necessarily deliver the best performance, and it means that users will be locked off from any new features that stock Android might develop. True, it’s no worse than the “re-skins” many carriers and phone manufacturers foist on us, but it still might be a drawback. Then again, there is the problem of who owns the joint.
It seems unlikely that Microsoft will allow what amounts to its new phone manufacturer to put out a handset using a competitor’s operating system. True, Microsoft might be open to it, especially as it’s a low-end phone and they want Windows Phone to be associated with high-end content. Or it might be released before the deal closes. But don’t be surprised if we never get to storm the beaches with Normandy… but if it does see the market, it’ll certainly be a phone we’ll be interested in.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.