Nokia Android handset project confirmed: report

Insiders say Project Normandy continues amid Microsoft acquisition

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Nokia Android handset project confirmed: report Nokia has been running an Android handset development project. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  December 11, 2013

Nokia has an Android-based budget phone in development, even as the Finnish vendor prepares to offload its devices division to Microsoft Corp, tech site The Verge reported yesterday.

Sources close to the project confirmed its codename as "Normandy" and said the Android OS was being developed from base code into a version that would be out of alignment with Google's current releases of the platform. Known as "forked" versioning by development communities, this split would allow Nokia's OS to form its own ecosystem, separate from Google.

Nokia executive have in the past let slip their frustration with Microsoft's slow progress on Windows Phone, in particular the comparatively weak app offerings of Windows Store when measured against those of Android and iOS. In July Nokia's app development VP, Bryan Biniak, came close to publicly condemning Microsoft for its sluggish movement on its mobile OS.

"To give you a reason to switch [platforms], I need to make sure the apps that you care about on your device are not only on our phones, but are better," Biniak told International Business Times. "I also need to provide you unique experiences that you can't get on your other devices... As a company we don't want to rely on somebody else and sit and wait for them to get it right."

According to the Nokia sources that spoke to The Verge, the Normandy handset supports a number of popular Android apps, such as Skype, and originally had been slated for a 2014 launch, but as the completion of Microsoft's acquisition approaches, it is not clear whether the project will continue.

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