More reports on: Microsoft, Telecom

Nokia to unveil Android smartphone: Reports

news
12 February 2014

Nokia is reported to be planning to unveil a smartphone running Google's Android operating system later this month, before before the Finnish handset maker's acquisition by Microsoft.

The Wall Street Journal said, the Finnish phone maker, which agreed to sell its hardware business to Microsoft for $7.9 billion in September, would announce a low-cost Android smartphone at the Mobile World Congress conference in Spain later this month.

The report, which cited unnamed sources, said the Nokia device would run a version of Android that worked similarly to the one used by Amazon tablets.

Although the operating system would be Android, the software would not include the Google Play store or many Google services.

Rather, the device would come with services created by Microsoft and Nokia as also an app store by Nokia.

The company's decision to offer an Android device came from its goal to succeed in emerging markets, where low-cost phones were in demand.

Currently, issues with the Windows Phone operating system limited how cheaply phone makers could make, and sell, their devices.

According to the report it was not clear if the Nokia Android device would be a one-time offering or if the phone maker would develop multiple devices that used the software created by one of Microsoft's biggest rivals.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports citing people familiar with the matter as saying, Nokia was preparing to offer more than one lower-end Android smartphones this month to tap into growth in countries such as India. 

The phones, would have access to a Nokia application store rather than that of Google's, Bloomberg reports. The devices would be announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which starts 24 February.

Nokia had been trying hard to win back users from Android devices and Apple Inc's iPhone with its Lumia smartphones running Microsoft's Windows software.

Cheaper Android devices from manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics Co had taken away customers from Nokia in regions such as Asia.

The move meant Microsoft would get to own a business that made phones using software from one of its fiercest competitors. Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, was aiming to conclude the purchase of Nokia's handset unit this quarter.

While Nokia had made Windows phones since 2011, the growth of the operating system fell behind that of Android, which could be used in devices costing $100 or less.

Bloomberg quoted Hannu  Rauhala, an analyst at Pohojola Bank in Helsinki as saying Microsoft needed products for the low-end market and current Windows-based phones were not suitable for that because they were too expensive.





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