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Nokia Close to Showing Off its First Android Smartphone

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Increasing levels of speculation that Nokia is about to show off its first ever Android based smartphone, on the eve of Microsoft buying the handset division.

Rumours have been swirling for several months, but fresh reports are coming in that suggest the new phone will be shown off at the Mobile World Congress in a few weeks.

Nokia are reported to have started work on the Android phone before the deal was announced to sell the division to Microsoft, but was able to push ahead with the development anyway.

A lot of Nokia's strength came from the easy upgrade path for users switching from a basic phone to more sophisticated models that often shared similar menu layouts.

A hybrid Android OS that mirrors the style of Windows Phone could then be offered to cheaper handsets, and offer a comfortable upgrade path for users who later buy a more powerful Windows Phone only device.

That would remove one of Windows Phone's weaknesses -- that it doesn't work that well on cheaper handsets. And for the foreseeable future, the cheaper end of the market, which has traditionally been Nokia's strong point will be the engine of growth for the mobile industry as a whole.

As a customised version of Android, the Nokia phones wont have access to Google services, but Nokia has its own mapping division and can drive traffic, and derive revenues from its own app store.

Managing its own app store also gives Nokia a convenient app migration process for Android users switching to Windows Phone.

Nokia's first Android phone -- often codenamed Normandy -- should be shown off in a few weeks time.

On the web: Wall Street Journal

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Tags: nokia  android