I have mixed feelings on the rumored Android-powered Nokia deviceAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Earlier today, our newshound Alex wrote up a report that had me absolutely writhing with excitement - it would seem that all of our wildest dreams are about to come true, as rumor has it that Nokia really is working on an Android-powered device running on Nokia's highly acclaimed hardware. If that isn't exciting news, then I don't know what is. I'm not going to lie, when I came across this news I'm fairly certain my eyebrows extended to my hairline because I had pretty much given up on this dream once I knew that Microsoft was going to start steering the Nokia ship. To me that meant nothing but Windows Phone from then until eternity. But this news gives me hope that there is still something in the works, and although it's still just a rumor from "sources", it's a rumor I would like to trust.
But even though I have hope for the codenamed Nokia Normandy, I do have to express my disdain in the fact that this Android-powered Nokia handset isn't going to have "the works" that I would have initially hoped for in such a device. As it would seem, the Normandy is rumored to run a customized version of Android. When I say customized, I don't mean with a skin like Sense or TouchWiz running on it; this is rumored to be heavily customized, in a way similar to Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets. When I hear this rumored device being compared to Kindles, my mind instantly goes to the fact that the Kindle's version of Android is so customized that there are quite a few apps missing from their version of the store. Since this is also going to be a lower-end device, I do question how much traction a phone like this will actually gain.
That's not to say that I have anything against lower-end devices, especially given that now seems like the tables are about to turn in favor of low-end smartphones (or at least, phones priced like low-end smartphones). We can look to devices like the Motorola Moto G, the BLU LIFE series, and even the Nexus line to show us that just because a price tag is low doesn't mean expectations for the device has to be. In fact, there are a few flagship devices that I would pass up in favor of the Moto G or the BLU LIFE phones just for the price/spec combination alone. Are they the best? Heck no. But the point is, they have a tempting price point and more importantly, they don't suck.
But I still can't help but feel that I was expecting a little more than just a low-end Nokia device running on Android. This was something I and many others have been waiting for for quite some time now. A Nokia device running on Android? Yes please! But a low-end Nokia device running on a potentially very limited Android? I'm not so sure about that. It's kind of like getting your hopes up that you'll get, say, a Playstation 4 for the holidays and you end up getting a first generation Xbox. It's something, but it's not exactly what you wanted to get. In that same breath, beggars can't be choosers. I shouldn't really be that disappointed in the first place about the Normandy because at least if this device is real, it's at least finally happening.
I hope this would be a kind of a stepping stone for Nokia and Android. Given that Microsoft will have the reigns soon, there might not be much room for Nokia to build on Android in the future. But in the case that it does, perhaps starting low and building up would be a smart move. It's also an idea worth entertaining that perhaps this customized version of Android, although compared with Amazon's Kindle Fire software, could still end up doing rather well for an Android-powered Nokia. As long as they have the mainstream apps taken care of then they should be good - that seems to be one of the biggest issues holding people back from going Windows Phone over Android or iOS. It's not the fact that Nokia is one of the few manufacturers for Windows Phone, but moreso that Microsoft has yet to build a true competing market with Android and iOS (although they are slowly building up to that point).
It really is a mixed feeling type of deal. I am really excited to hear that Nokia is working on such a device (supposedly) but I can't lie and say that I wasn't a little disappointed when I learned it wasn't going to be much to write home about. I guess time will tell whether it's a device that I would recommend to others, so it's best not to get too far ahead of myself.
What are your thoughts, readers? Does the Normandy sound like the Nokia Android device you've always dreamed of, heavily skinned or not? I mean, at least it's happening, right? Let us know what you think about the rumored device in the comments below!
Image via CNet