Nokia’s “Normandy” Android handset has become something of a curiosity for many smartphone fans who see it as a “what-could-have-been” for Nokia if it had decided to not go exclusively with Windows Phone. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, however, thinks that Nokia’s Android phone is more than just a novelty, however — it might be a hint of what’s to come from future Microsoft phones now that it’s on the cusp of buying Nokia’s handset division.
Why in the world would Microsoft release an Android phone, you ask? As Foley explains, a heavily modified Android that incorporates a lot of Windows Phone’s design choices and that prominently features many of Microsoft’s mobile apps might be a great way of gaining a foothold into some emerging markets.
“Microsoft wants to be a devices and services company,” Foley explains. “If you buy a handset that runs at least some Microsoft services and apps, Microsoft is guaranteed to earn at least some revenues from that transaction. If a user foregoes Windows Phone as it stands now in favor of an iPhone or Android phone, Microsoft will likely make far less from that potential customer. Of course, Microsoft’s preference would be for that handset to be all Microsoft, with a pure version of Windows Phone OS inside. But an Android core with Microsoft apps and services is the next best thing, isn’t it?”
This actually does make quite a bit of sense. Google has shown no qualms about bringing its services to iOS devices and BlackBerry has recently declared that it wants iOS and Android users as BlackBerry customers as well. The only company that doesn’t widely distribute most of its apps across different platforms is Apple but we sort of doubt that iOS Maps would be a hit in rival app stores if it ever released there.