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Nokia rumored to launch Android phone at MWC

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Nokia is rumored to launch an Android powered low-cost smartphone at MWC in Barcelona next week. Is this just a first step to Nokia high-end phones with their PureView cameras, such as the Lumia 1020 pictured here, running the Android OS in the future? 

It seems that there is some hope for those who are waiting for a Nokia PureView phone that allows you to install and run your favorite Android apps. With the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona around the corner the rumor mill is running hot and the Wall Street Journal has already reported that Nokia will launch a new model, expected to be named Nokia X, that will be running Android at the show. According to the rumors, Nokia will use a "forked" version of Google's Mobile OS that integrates existing Microsoft and Nokia services, such as SkyDrive and Here Maps. Google Play won't come pre-installed and instead there will be a new dedicated App Store. This sounds very similar to what Amazon is doing with its line of Kindle Fire devices. 

Since we started looking at mobile devices at DPReview we have tested the camera capabilities of a number of Nokia smartphones and have almost always been impressed with their image quality. Launched in 2012, with its 1.2-inch 41MP sensor the Nokia 808 arguably still offers the best camera we have seen on a phone. Unfortunately the device launched running the outdated Symbian operating system and the 808 never stood a chance in the marketplace, despite the outstanding image quality of its camera.

In 2013 Nokia combined the 808's innovative PureView imaging concept with a modern OS, Windows Phone, on the Lumia 1020 and 1520. In our reviews we found the image quality of the new devices could not quite keep up with the 808 but still left most of the Android and iOS competition in the dust.

However, the Nokia smartphones' good image quality is marred by a lack of imaging apps. The popular Instagram app was only recently launched for Windows Phone and is still officially in beta status. The quickly growing Instagram rival EyeEm stopped supporting its Windows Phone version altogether and in terms of editing and capture apps the situation is not much better. There are simply more options on other platforms. With this in mind it's not a surprise that one comment we get pretty frequently is "I would buy this phone if it were running Android."

The bad news is, if the rumors are true, with just 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM and a 3MP camera, the Nokia X will be firmly planted in the low-cost category. So, it seems that, at least for now, mobile photographers waiting for an Android-powered PureView phone will have to be patient a little longer. But if the Nokia X proves to be a success, we might be editing high-resolution PureView images in Snapseed or Pixlr sooner than we think. Let us know your opinion in the comments. Would you be more likely to consider a Nokia smartphone if it were running Android instead of Windows Phone?


 

Comments

Total comments: 34
Miguel J Princz

Forgot that many users are fed up with Microsoft blue screens on their pcs, perhaps also afraid of getting a blue screen on a smartphone....?

0 upvotes
Miguel J Princz

Perhaps Nokia should abandon phones completely and dedicate their company developing good cameras. I still use my Nokia N8 for pictures and GPS, it is really very good in both applications. Symbian as such, has terribly lousy response.
Nokia's adoption by bill gates just produces nausea...

0 upvotes
peevee1

Microsoft will kick somebody's butt for that.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf

Google spy software comes pre-installed. Why, because Google won't let any company fork Android without installing some NSA mandated software. China's Alibaba Group use the open-source portion to create Aliyun OS with its own services replacing Google service in China and Google sued Acer to prevent Acer from launching an Aliyun OS phone. Consider both Amazon and MS are in bed with NSA, Google won't mind Nokia making a forked Android.

0 upvotes
GatanoII

LOL, What a joke, Android (and not a castrated version like this one) must go on high end phones and WP on low end instead, tipical MS move, be fair give an Android phone the same powered hardware and see what people will buy ... are you scared Microsoft? that your own OS will non be good enough for Nokia customers compared to a Nokia with Google Android ? Yes, everyone knows the market share of Android, so be serious and use the most useful OS on your smartphones and you will see more buyers than just making this not so useful dumb-phone ;)

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

Of course it's understandable MS pushes their own OS on their high-end handsets and not that of a competitor's.

This is the only way of making the market share of WP rise, other than releasing phones almost under cost (see the Lumia 520).

0 upvotes
GatanoII

Microsoft shareholders want profitable business not just a little bit of more share for a non profitable OS like Windows Phone, to say that MS has it's own phone OS, it makes no sense any more.

Windows monopoly can't be repeated on mobile devices, just play in the field where you can gain something, Android is a safe bet if paired with good hardware, not if installed on a dumb phone and without Google services.

0 upvotes
zodiacfml

In a tech website, Nokia has been known to secretly working on an Android phone.

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (8 months ago)

Why? The Microsoft phone OS is excellent.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

See below. It's a low-low-end phone, where MS / Nokia don't want to use WP.

0 upvotes
write2alan

No, Microsoft is realizing that the Windows Phone platform will not take off as they hoped. I think they are in the process of making Nokia phone with dual boot. Users will have the choice of Windows or Android in the coming year I hope. I would love to have a Nokia phone but having avoiding it until at lease Android is running the show. FYI: MS bought Nokia out.

0 upvotes
Michael Piziak

Even Nokia is realizing that Android is the way to go instead of Microsoft

0 upvotes
greenarcher02

It's supposed to replace Asha, not Lumia. And it's probably has to do with the fact that this happens right before acquisition.

0 upvotes
thx1138

After looking at the specs, one can definitely say it's forked.

Not sure what they are thinking with this but they should stick to Windows phones.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

Of course it's forked. They - understandably - won't support their competitor. By NOT using Google's (non-free) add-on apps (Gmaps etc.) and only sticking with the free Android, however, they hit two birds with one stone:

- they have a decent, up-to-date OS for free instead of the outdated S40 previously used in low-end Nokias

- they can offer their own map etc. services (e.g., HERE) instead of those of Google. This means gaining popularity and use of HERE, XBox and other MS / Nokia services.

0 upvotes
thx1138

I think you missed the pun.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

Sorry, I thought you referred to the Android version being "forked", that is, not stock Android with additional all bells and whistles from Google.

0 upvotes
webrunner5

You really expect Microsoft to let you have the best of Android?

I am surprised they are letting any of it in the phone.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

It's not FULL Android but the absolute minimum - like that of Amazon. See my other posts on this.

0 upvotes
Sergey Borachev

Nice try, but no buy.

A half-hearted Android attempt will do nothing. Only a full Android implementation on a top phone will have any hope of winning back consumers who have lost their confidence in Nokia, whoever owns or runs it.

What we can see here is still a lack of real commitment to use Android. That says volumes about the limited Android support that can be expected later with such a product, and raises more doubt in Nokia's commitment to any Android products and Android support, e.g. getting Android updates, fixing problems in use, etc. Clearly Android is used only because Nokia's arm is twisted.

Maybe the GUI and other software in the phone will look more and more like the same thing in some future Windows GUI etc, as a way of moving unsuspecting users to Windows?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Menneisyys

There surely won't be full Android devices by MS / Nokia in the next 2 years. MS won't support their main competitor.

This phone deliberately lacks "full" Android to be able to use a, this way, absolutely free OS. Which is far more capable than Nokia's own, low-end and, now, sorely outdated S40. Should S40 be as good as Android, it would be used instead.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

As an answer to the questions "why" and "how come", let me copy the following here (as it's practically being hidden at the bottom of the page, behind a "See more" link):

It's very simple:

- Series 40 (the current OS running on low-end Nokia phones) is very weak and outdated
- Nokia / MS don't want to offer WP-based Asha phones in that price / size category
- they don't need to pay anything to Google if they don't use their add-on services (GMaps, playStore etc.) - the OS itself, w/o Google's add-on services, is free
- Android is mature and runs just fine on a phone and, again, is much-much more up to date than the aging S40

All in all, it's understandable MS has nothing against running Android on a low-end, cheap but, as it's Nokia, durable and quality handset. Again, they aren't supporting Google, their competitor, at all. This, however, doesn't mean there will be high-end Android MS / Nokia handsets. Regrettably.

3 upvotes
Old Pirate

No....I am leaving Apple and going back to Windows after using Surface Pro 2.

1 upvote
Vladik

Is it that good?

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

Vladik, the SF Pro 2 has some REAL advantages over even the latest iPads:

- Wacom pen
- windowed multitasking - both that of the Windows 8 (dual-pane, finger-friendly) and that of "old" Win versions
- sufficient RAM (as opposed to the 1GB joke in all Retina iPads)
- USB
- full x86 compatibility

2 upvotes
Ben O Connor

Android ? Why?

1 upvote
Vladik

I dont get it either. Apparently, they will build Bing services around cheap a$$ android phone, I dont understand the point.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Well, could be a way of testing the waters. If it works on the budget devices they might expand to high-end models.

1 upvote
Vladik

Possibly, but Nokia Device Division along with it's patents, now belongs to Microsoft, why would they release Android devices, it just doesn't make any sense.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Lars Rehm

I guess it would make sense if this way they can sell lots of them :) They are using a forked version of Android which means all the MS Services will still be integrated and they'll have their own App Store. It works for Amazon and Kindle, so there is a chance it could work for MS as well.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

"why would they release Android devices, it just doesn't make any sense."

It's very simple:

- Series 40 (the current OS running on low-end Nokia phones) is very weak and outdated
- Nokia / MS don't want to offer WP-based Asha phones in that price / size category
- they don't need to pay anything to Google if they don't use their add-on services (GMaps, playStore etc.) - the OS itself, w/o Google's add-on services, is free
- Android is mature and runs just fine on a phone and, again, is much-much more up to date than the aging S40

All in all, it's understandable MS has nothing against running Android on a low-end, cheap but, as it's Nokia, durable and quality handset. Again, they aren't supporting Google, their competitor, at all. This, however, doesn't mean there will be high-end Android MS / Nokia handsets. Regrettably.

2 upvotes
tsubasa1

There are already too many Android phones to choose from. Is it going to be a $99 or even cheaper unlocked phone?

1 upvote
Menneisyys

"There are already too many Android phones to choose from. Is it going to be a $99 or even cheaper unlocked phone?"

1, The price is still unknown. (But will be definitely under $150, I'm sure.)

2, this handset will have a major advantage over anything? most? else - it being a Nokia. Which means durability, longevity, reliability. Nokia's traditionally strong points. This is why the phone, IMHO, will sell very well - if you can choose between two low-cost phones, one of them being much more durable, which would you go for?

2 upvotes
GatanoII

Menneisyys

Nokia perceived durability is based on old models with a lot less electronic then the new ones

I, and I can assume most other people, have at home a lot of old outdated Nokia, Motorola etc "rock solid" phones that are just rock solid paperweight by today standards, this "new" Nokia-castrated-Android phone is born to be paperweight yesterday not tomorrow

Last week I was shopping for some cheap Android phones to use for tethering instead of an usb key as the cost is so low you can (almost) buy a phone instead of an internet key ... btw I ended buying an usb key for just 29€ as it's still more compact ;) but I could have bought tons of Android phones from Samsung or LG or Sony in the range of 49€ to 89€ all with far better specification that this Nokia toy that don't even have the extremely useful and "free" Google ecosystem

If MS-Nokia want to say something with Android they must try better than this , I know they could they just don't want and this way they will fail

0 upvotes
Total comments: 34
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