Many years before huge corporations such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) noticed that the mobile phone marketplace could be an extremely fertile one for them, another very unpretentious producer of consumer electronics ruled the roost.
Nokia is the elder statesman of the mobile world
Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) is still the only mobile phone manufacturer in history to have sold over 100 million units of multiple mobile devices. Back when all we demanded from a phone was that we could make and receive telephone calls with it (remember when people actually used mobile phones for this purpose…) and send the odd text message, Nokia produced a raft of devices which dominated and defined the fledgling mobile phone marketplace.
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But their position in the smartphone market has been slipping rapidly in recent years, to the point today where the Finnish firm controls a mere three percent of the global market. Struggling to compete with the massive success of the Apple iPhone and the Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) Galaxy, Nokia have faded into the background, with the company posting a loss of around $2 billion in the last financial year.
However, after Microsoft bought out the company in September last year, with the apparent intention of ensuring the future of the company that produces tech for its Windows Phone range, the corporation’s hopes suddenly took a turn for the better.
And with a raft of new smartphones expected in 2014, Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) announced some time ago that it would be releasing a new budget mobile during the calendar year, dubbed the Nokia Normandy. We knew little about this device, other than it would be powered by the Android operating system, and be aiming for the affordable end of the smartphone market.
Getting back into the game
But in the last few days, a few more details have begun to emerge about the smartphone, with information leaked through the infamous phone tipster @evleaks. The Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) celebrity has firstly revealed some brand new leaked images of this forthcoming device, which have put an end to murmurings that the Gallic-themed handset will not see the light of day after all.
In fact, quite a few details have now seeped out regarding this budget handset, with perhaps the most interesting snippet that the Nokia Normandy will in fact feature a completely new Android interface. The Swedish company will apparently utilize an entirely new customized interface for the colorful handset, which will obviously require quite an investment in technology between now and its released date. Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) are not the first company to produce a customized version of Android, as Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) have already devised their own edition for their Kindle devices.
While this would seem to be a very practical decision for what is set to be a fairly low-tech device, it does also imply that the Normandy may not feature full Google Play Store app support. Nevertheless, it seems certain that this is something which will have been taken into consideration by the designers, so we may see some form of support for the Play Store.
It was always likely that the Nokia device would be placed in the affordable end of the market, simply because the high end of the smartphone market is highly crowded to say the least. But the information seeping out from the recent leaks also indicates that Nokia will target the smartphone at a similar price point to the previously released Nokia Asha; thus, we have a good idea of at what price point the Normandy will retail.
Unlike the Asha, however, the idea with the Normandy is to provide users with access to the sort of functionality and applications which smartphone users now take for granted. This was an area where Nokia has been somewhat lacking in the past, and it is pretty clear that this is to blame for their demotion in relevance and significance in recent years. The smartphone market is a pretty demanding one nowadays, and people require a bit more bang for their buck from a contemporary mobile than the basics that Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) have hitherto offered.
Thus, it will be interesting to note what functionality the phone will feature when full details are released, and the reaction to this will undoubtedly determine whether or not the Normandy’s conquest is successful. What we do know so far is that based on the leaked images, the Nokia device will feature dual-SIM support, lock screen notifications, an on-going call screen, and a log-in screen which suggests that there will be support for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s incredibly popular Skype.
There are also presumptions based on the images that the Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) device will not include an on-screen navigation keyboard within its customized version on Android. This assumption has been made due to some of the buttons which appear in the device’s keypad.
In terms of the specification of the device, the latest indications are that the Nokia Normandy will run off a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 200 chipset, and the camera which comes with the device has already been mentioned to be around the 5-megapixel range. This is pretty competitive for a budget device, given that the forthcoming iPhone 6 is only rumored to have a 8-megapixel device. It also appears from the images that the camera will be rear mounted.
Finally, the screen size of the device appears to be around 4”, although this has not been accurately confirmed. It is rumored that the display resolution will be 480×854 pixels, obviously meaning that this is not a full HD device, but should have a decent image quality.
After a couple of years in the doldrums, it will be interesting to see how this device performs, and we’ll keep our eyes open for more updates in the near future.