Be honest, how many of you bought into the whole Nokia-made Android-running handheld story when it first surfaced? Not many, eh? And I bet there are still skeptics out and about who reckon either we’re looking at one of the most elaborate hoaxes in the history of mobile tech, or the launch will be canceled in the eleventh hour.
Well, I can’t claim to have a lot of sources “on the inside” or anything, but let me assure you the Nokia Normandy is very much real. I don’t know that, as I haven’t seen the thing with my own eyes, but every rational bone in my body says you can’t fabricate that many photos and so much “intelligence” without someone calling your bluff.
Will it ultimately see daylight? Ah, yes, now you’re asking the right questions, though I’m afraid Nokia officials are the only ones with the answer in their back pockets. Possibly, not even them, as rumor has it the plan at the moment is indeed to roll the “X” out as soon as next month, but between now and then Microsoft could try to hijack the release.
Why? Let’s not get into the politics of it and just call it fear on Redmond’s part. Fear of diversification, primarily. But that’s not the reason we’re here. Instead, we want to round up all the Normandy gossip floating around. Here goes:
Nokia Normandy – branding rumors
From day one, the phone was known as the “Normandy”. But from day one, it was obvious its final market name would have a different ring to it. The thing is the official moniker is still a tough nut to crack.
@EvLeaks suggested a mysterious, cool-sounding Nokia X nickname not long ago, but, despite the leak master’s proven track record, two arguments make it implausible. 1. It’s far too similar to the Moto X, and 2. It’s too unalike Lumia and Asha.
True, the device itself may not resemble Lumias and Ashas much, however a very different branding would mean fully acknowledging that. Which is unlikely when the whole point of the “Normandy” is to blur the lines between Android, Windows and Asha, and subsequently draw as many people as possible to the “dark side”.
Release date and pricing speculation
More than how severe Nokia ultimately intends to fork Android, more than the hardware, design and name, Normandy’s make-or-break elements will be timing and pricing. Also, availability, but I doubt its spread will be limited in any way to certain regions or countries.
So should we mark our calendars for February 24? Book flights to Barcelona and accomodation in Catalunya? Probably, as the Mobile World Congress seems the perfect venue for a glitzy yet not overly showy introduction. Besides, Nokia gave last month’s CES the cold shoulder and it can’t afford to do the same with the year’s second glamorous tech expo.
As for the financial aspect of the equation, pinpointing exact figures is difficult when, for all intents and purposes, we have nothing similar to compare the Normandy to. Let’s say somewhere between Ashas and Motorola’s Moto G. Soooo $120, possibly $150. Sub-$100 would be the dream though.
Design and build quality
Since a picture is worth a thousand words and half a dozen Normandy pics have so far surfaced online, it’s probably best to let them speak for themselves. Remember, they presumably depict pre-release, test prototypes, so some last-minute adjustments are definitely in the cards.
Nothing major however, so in the end, the 4-incher shall still look like a blocky, slightly more elegant, larger Asha 501.
Nokia Normandy – software rumors
What if Android (4.4 KitKat), Windows Phone 8 and the Asha software platform would one day decide to put their differences aside, fall in love and bear children? I’ll bet you 1,000 smackeroos that was the pitch of the guy who came up with the idea of this user interface.
But is it the best of both all three worlds, or, on the contrary, a freakish Frankensteinian mutant? Frankly, I couldn’t care less. What are we, 10 year-old school girls to get hung up on the UI’s cute factor? At the end of the day, it all boils down to this: Google Play or GTFO.
Skin, tweak, fork, customize all you want, Nokia, just don’t touch the Play Store. Preferably, also pre-load the Normandy with as many as Google’s other services as possible. You know, Gmail, Gmaps and so on. Oh, how I hope that Vietnamese online retailer got the list of features right.
Nokia Normandy – hardware roundup
Usually, I’d start my rumor recaps with the hardware part. Or at least get to it towards the middle of the post. Not this time. This time, I left it for the very end because it doesn’t make much of a difference. We all know the Normandy isn’t going to be a powerhouse, so whether it packs a 1 GHz or 1.2 GHz chip, it just doesn’t matter.
Alright, it matters a little. But make no mistake, if Nokia plays the rest of its cards right (design, software, pricing, availability), it’ll sell a million of these things in the first week regardless of “specs”.
Now, for all you spec war-crazed fellows out there, here’s what to expect from the Nokia X Normandy Asha Android whatever:
- 4-inch FWVGA (854 x 480 pixels resolution) TFT display
- Dual-core 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 SoC
- Adreno 302 GPU
- 512 MB RAM
- 4 GB on-board storage space
- MicroSD support for memory expansion with an additional 32 GB
- 5 MP rear-facing camera
- Dual SIM support (possibly optional)
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Hotspot, A-GPS, Bluetooth, 3G connectivity
All things considered, could Nokia interest you in an Asha clone with pre-loaded Android and the above listed hardware? How does the software need to look and how much are you willing to cough up for the “Normandy”? Sound off below.