Still locked in its smartphone partnership with Microsoft, Finland-based Nokia seems to be branching out to devices powered by the world's leading operating system, Google's Android.
Last month a "leaked" photo of a device called the "Normandy" appeared on Twitter and published reports said the secret device will be powered by a forked version of Android. The Verge said the device was now being tested, according to unnamed sources, and would run Android-compatible applications like Skype.
The alleged Normandy device shown in the photo resembles Nokia's candybar-shaped Lumia devices. No further details have emerged about the device, and Nokia did not provide us with comment as of the time of publication.
Gaining Market Share
The Android reports come as Nokia, which is selling its smartphone division to Microsoft, is seeing a surge in the important U.S. market. According to a MarketMonitor report by Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research, Nokia grew from just 1.4 percent in the second quarter of this year to 4.1 percent in Q3. In the third quarter of 2012, Nokia barely registered with 0.7 percent of the market.
Samsung and Apple continue to dominate the market with about 33 percent each, the survey said, while LG clinched the third spot with 8.6 percent of the market.
Nokia saw some serious slippage in the global market in the same period with a 15.5 percent share of the market in the current quarter compared with 21.3 last year at this time. South Korea-based Samsung Electronics, which last year captured the top global handset-maker crown from Nokia, grew slightly from 26.4 percent to 28.7 percent.
Since Google's Android is an open-source operating system, it makes sense for Nokia to use it for cheaper devices aimed at emerging markets. Gartner Research Analyst Ken Dulaney said, "While this is only speculation at this point, the rumor if proven true could be one of two scenarios: Nokia wanting to serve those geographies which [require] devices that they cannot deliver with Windows Phone [because of the cost] or the piece of Nokia not purchased by Microsoft [is] resurrecting a phone business using Android as the base.”
Needs More Apps
Dulaney added that a key impediment to the widespread adoption of Windows is the lack of applications, with Windows packing roughly 175,000 applications, compared with approximately one million each for Apple's App Store and Google Play's offerings for Android-based tablets and smartphones.
But he added that the current growth of Windows in the U.S. was likely filling a void.
"As Blackberry continues to decline there is a place for Windows Phone, so I am not surprised. Microsoft had done everything they could to prevent the platform from succeeding last year. Poor marketing especially," Dulaney said. "Now they have started to do the obvious things. It was a simple fix and the reward is increased sales. The Nokia 1020 camera ads are effective."
Dulaney was referring to the Lumia 1020 commercials stressing its 41-megapixel cameras, which feature the Sarah Bereilles hit "Brave."