Leak after leak after leak out of Nokia's labs recently all-but confirms one thing -- the Finnish smartphone manufacturer is dabbling in the dark arts of Android, its Windows Phone interests (and close relationship with Microsoft) be-damned. With fresh rumours circulating this morning, we felt it was high-time to pull together everything we know on Nokia's latest experiment.
Today, serial tech leaker @evleaks (and thus far the primary source of Nokia Android whispers) suggested that the handset, previously codenamed "Normandy", would go by the name "Nokia X", should it ever come to market:
Project Normandy = Nokia X
— @evleaks (@evleaks) January 23, 2014
That's a pretty hardcore sounding name, reviving the once-promising "X" branding of Nokia's music-focussed Symbian phones. But, though the name is far slicker than Nokia's usually-clumsy numeric naming conventions, the suggested specs so far are more prosaic.
A Nokia Power User posting suggested that the handset would land with a smallish 4-inch display, running at 854 x 540 resolution according to an AnTuTu benchmarking test. That would give the the Nokia X screen a 253ppi pixel density -- not quite as impressive as the 300+ pixel-per-inch densities that are now standard among most flagship phones from rival Android manufacturers, and a good indicator of the X's mid-range placement, should the rumours prove true.
The benchmarking test also gave some clues towards what processor would be powering the handset, with The Verge suggesting it would be a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4, backed by 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. MicroSD card storage expansion was also touted, along with a 5MP camera -- flash free, if the following image proves accurate (though other sources discredit the flash-free claim):
Perhaps the most interesting rumour surrounding Nokia's alleged Android phone however is the suggestion that it would be using a thoroughly-adapted version of Google's OS. Despite going for the search giant's operating system, leaked images and details claim that Nokia would be using a forked version of Android 4.1.1, modified so heavily as to resemble the Windows Phone 8 platform, complete with Live Tile-like homescreens:
Two ways to interact with Normandy. pic.twitter.com/uUY2XF4h7i
— @evleaks (@evleaks) January 16, 2014
Nokia-specific applications would seemingly still feature heavily however, with the Nokia MixRadio icon still being displayed prominently.
Alongside the UI similarities, the Nokia X phone also looks set to borrow from Nokia's Lumia range in terms of its industrial design. Images have leaked showing the handset with a multitude of brightly-coloured polycarbonate casing options, with a volume rocker and power button sat on the phone's right hand edge. A single capacitive-touch button looks likely to sit along with lower edge of the touchscreen display, if the leaked image proves accurate -- it's shape is suggestive of a "back" button, though it may well serve multiple purposes, or simply be a "home" button:
Our pals at TechRadar even went so far as to put together this impressive render of the phone, based on the collected rumours thus-far. While it's based only on the speculation above, it gives a good feeling of how the device could look, from angles that have so-far been obscured.
So, if the rumours are true, when could we expect to see the Nokia X officially unveiled? The obvious bet would be at next month's MWC 2014 event, taking place in Barcelona. Nokia's event is scheduled for February 24th, and would be the perfect platform on which to show the X to the world.
However, the plot thickens thanks to Nokia's close ties to Microsoft. Nokia has been the primary maker of Windows Phone handsets since joining forces with the Redmond company in February of 2011. Recently, Microsoft has been rumoured to be considering a complete buyout of Nokia's mobile hardware arm, which would see it's releases even more closely scrutinised by Microsoft. As such, should the buyout go through anytime soon, it's possible that the Nokia X phone would get nuked altogether, as Microsoft would see little benefit in its newest acquisition making handsets on a rival's platform.
As ever, without official word from Nokia, all this must be treated with some skepticism. But with so many leaks now flowing so often, the rumours are beginning to form into something resembling a complete picture. We'll keep you posted on how this story develops, and whether or not a Nokia-made Android phone turns out to be real, and worthy of your time.