“How different would it be if Nokia uses Android instead of Windows Phone ?” – a question that I’m pretty sure many of you have also been asking for the longest time. With the recent string of leaked information regarding a certain unreleased device that is now fondly known by its “Normandy” codename, it seems like the question has finally been answered…partially for now. Many, including yours truly, believe that Nokia will officially announce the Android-based smartphone at the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona next month since it is one of the biggest trade events for the industry. Since we are just around one month away from the event, now seems like a good time to take a look back at all the major leaked information regarding Nokia Normandy that we have seen so far. Among the earliest mentions of Nokia Normandy was back in November 2013 when Evleaks listed down a set of codenames, which alongside Normandy also include Goldfinger, Moneypenny, Phantom and Spinel. A few days after that, the well-known leaker has tweeted that Normandy is “the missing link” which sounds rather mysterious and is still open for anyone’s interpretation till today. Barely a week after that, Evleaks then brought forward an image (below) that depicts the front and rear part of Normandy, revealing its single navigation button, Lumia-like physical design and a rear camera without flash. Evleaks has also hinted of the target market of Normandy by mentioning Asha alongside the image.
Not long after that, The Verge emerged with a juicy piece of news from its sources that instantly grabbed everyone’s attention: apparently, Normandy is actually running on Android. However, the Android operating system on Nokia Normandy is heavily customized (most probably based on Android Open Source Project) and rather different from the version that Google has made for your existing Android devices. The Verge’s source also stated that the Nokia Normandy Android smartphone is designed to cater to the low-end segment of the market, which is currently served by the Asha series. For now, it is not known if Normandy will be part of the Asha series but frankly speaking, I’m not surprised if Nokia decides to do just that since Normandy is designed for the same market segment as Asha. To end the year, Evleaks came out with yet another press render as well as a subtle hint that the Normandy project is still going on despite Microsoft’s acquisition over Nokia devices division. Within a week into 2014, things then got hotter as informants started to leak out Normandy’s user interface. True to the words of The Verge’s sources, the leaks pretty much showed just how different the Normandy UI was to the usual Android interface. Additionally, it is also quite obvious that the UI borrowed a lot of elements from both the Asha and Windows Phone platforms.
The leaks have also revealed that Normandy will come with dual SIM capability. Additionally, another set of leaks from China have also revealed some of Normandy’s technical specifications through the device’s “About” section and AnTuTu Benchmark screenshot which listed Android 4.4.1, Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 5MP rear camera. It also turned out that Normandy has another name: Nokia A110. Last week was certainly the best week so far when it came to Nokia Normandy-related leaks, as they now involved pictures of the Normandy prototype, which apparently originated from China. Evleaks has also once again contributed to the cause by revealing yet another press render together with an additional look at Normandy’s UI as shown below. In my opinion, the leak above is the best image so far that is able to pinpoint specific elements that Nokia has brought over to Normandy from the Asha Platform and Windows Phone. As you can see on the right side of the image, the UI tiles looked very similar to Windows Phone in terms of colours and icons while on the left is a notification centre that is almost identical to Asha’s Fastlane feature. The dual SIM icons are also identical to those on Asha devices. Another interesting thing that we can also see on the leak above is the appearance of BlackBerry Messenger and judging from the photos as well as names in contact list, I believe that India might be one of the key market for Nokia Normandy.
If that proved to be true, the device might be heading to other emerging markets as well since we also heard that Normandy is now going through certification process in Indonesia which is also one of the major BlackBerry market in the world. Just before Evleaks posted the above screenshot, another leaker named ViziLeaks (famed for its Lumia 1020 pre-release preview but has been in hibernation for the past two months) suddenly tweeted an image of what seems to be the actual Nokia Normandy device. There is one irregularity to the image though (shown below) as it appears that there is some sort of sensor or flash next to the device’s camera. Not to forget, The Verge’s network of sources has also revealed information regarding a set of potential features that might be packed into Normandy including 4-inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 3-megapixel camera, 4GB of storage, and 512MB of RAM – features that pretty much fit the bill of a low-end Android smartphone. Looking at all the leaked information above, I only have three conclusions when it comes to Nokia Normandy for now. One, the device is definitely going to be officially announced by Nokia sooner or later. Two, it could have be a device that was almost ready for release but may have been cancelled by Microsoft for obvious reasons. All in all, let me ask you this: are you interested in getting this Android-based Nokia smartphone ? At this moment, I’m certainly attracted to Nokia Normandy and would definitely give a go without thinking twice…just to experience what Nokia is able to achieve with Android.