Ever since we got our first peek at a render of the Nokia Normandy in mid-December, a steady stream of information about the Android-powered handset has been flowing out of the rumor mill. That flow continues today thanks to the appearance of an image that purportedly shows the Normandy hanging out in the wild.
Posted to Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo, the photo depicts an engineering prototype of the Nokia Normandy in a protective case meant to mask its true identity. We can see that the unit has a black front panel and a lone capacitive back button beneath its display, just like the Normandy that we've seen in three different sets of leaked renders. The device is displaying the Nokia logo, likely a part of its startup sequence.
The Normandy is rumored to be a low-cost device that's similar to Nokia's Asha line of handsets, but with a customized version of Android rather than the Series 40-based OS found on Asha phones. That decision was reportedly made so that the Normandy would have access to Android's large catalog of full-on smartphone apps. Details on the device itself are fairly light, but we have seen that the Normandy features a Lumia-esque design, dual-SIM support and a rear-facing camera.
Reports have suggested that Nokia had been targeting a 2014 launch for the Normandy, but because Microsoft is working to acquire Nokia's Devices & Services division, the fate of the Normandy is now up in the air. The Microsoft-Nokia deal is expected to reach completion in early 2014, and while there's no guarantee that it'll actually go through, the transaction has already gained approval from the U.S. Justice Department, European Commission and Nokia's own shareholders. If the deal does close, it seems unlikely that Microsoft would want its newly-acquired subsidiary releasing a phone that runs Android, so for now all we can do is wait to see how that transaction plays out. Good thing that there's plenty of leaks to keep us busy in the mean time.
UPDATE: Another picture of the Nokia Normandy has surfaced on Sina Weibo. This one provides a much clearer look at the device outside of its protective shell and also with its display showing a menu of some sort. The status bar shown on this device lines up with the ones shown in a previously-leaked set of Normandy renders, complete with dual-SIM capabilities, and the software on the unit is definitely unlike any other version of Android we've seen before.