Nokia reportedly prepping low-end Android phone. Will Microsoft sell it?

|About: Nokia Corporation (NOK)|By:, SA News Editor

Multiple sources tell The Verge Nokia's (NOK) phone unit has been working on a low-end Android phone even as the business gets set to be sold to Microsoft (MSFT). A 2014 launch is said to be planned.

The phone, codenamed Normandy, reportedly features (like Amazon's Kindle Fire line) a non-Google-approved version of Android. That means it can't feature Google Play, or commonly pre-installed Google apps/services such as YouTube, Maps, Gmail, and Now. Sources compare the product to Nokia's Asha feature phones.

The NYT previously reported Nokia worked on Android phones before the Microsoft deal was announced. However, the deal prohibits Nokia from selling phones under the Nokia brand until 2016. Moreover, maintaining a phone business, and the patent cross-licenses needed for it, could undercut Nokia's efforts to better monetize its IP.

Thus, Microsoft will probably have the final call on whether to sell the phone. Thanks in large part to the Lumia 520 and variants, Windows Phone has made decent gains in the low-end smartphone market. But it hasn't yet reached the unsubsidized price points (well below $100) delivered by the cheapest Android phones. In the meantime, those Android phones are eating into Nokia's feature phone business.

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