WSJ: Nokia to launch Android phone as Microsoft deal closes

|About: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)|By:, SA News Editor

Sources tell the WSJ Nokia's unit phone, soon to be in Microsoft's (MSFT +0.4%) hands, will show off its first Android phone this month at the Mobile World Congress (runs from Feb. 24-27).

In-line with past reports, the phone is said to be a low-end device aimed at emerging markets, and thus appears meant to be an alternative to Nokia's Asha feature phones than mid-range or high-end Lumia models.

Recent leaks have indicated the phone will have a Windows Phone-like UI, and come with unmistakably low-end specs (4" 800x480 display, dual-core 1GHz. QCOM Snapdragon CPU).

Both the WSJ and others have reported the phone won't support the apps/services that come with Google's version of Android (Play, Gmail, Maps, Now, etc.). Instead, Nokia/Microsoft services will be pre-installed, including a Nokia Android app store (its selection is bound to be much smaller than Google Play's).

Nokia's phone unit posted a 29% Y/Y sales drop in Q4, a decline that had much to do with plunging feature phone sales in the face of booming low-end Android phone sales in emerging markets. Though Windows Phone's price points have fallen considerably, they still don't match those of the cheapest Android devices.