Nokia to Release Android-Powered Phone Soon

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Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is set to release its own phone running on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android software by the end of the month, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke to the Wall Street Journal. This news comes shortly after Nokia completed the $7.2 billion sale of its smartphone unit to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

Reports that Nokia was working on an Android-powered device first came out back in September when the Microsoft acquisition was announced. Nokia had the option to exit the Microsoft partnership at the end of 2014, and a New York Times report revealed that Nokia was building phones running on Android to prepare for that exit, or possibly to intimidate Microsoft by reminding the company that Nokia could easily switch platforms to a competitor.

The Journal’s sources said that the Android phone was already in development when the Microsoft acquisition was announced. The Nokia-Android device was planned to be used in targeting emerging markets, where cheap Android phones have been popular. Microsoft has its own Windows Phone operating system, which has been featured on Nokia phones since 2011 when Nokia decided to ditch its unpopular Symbian platform. The fact that this Android-powered Nokia is still being released is a sign that Microsoft may be willing to be flexible on using its Windows operating system in order to sell more devices.

According to the Journal, the version of Android used in the Nokia devices has been modified to downplay the promotion of Google products and services, similarly to the way Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has altered Android for its Kindle tablets and e-readers. The phones won’t carry Google’s app store the Google Play Store, but will instead promote apps from Microsoft and Nokia.

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