Nokia to unveil first Android phone

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Nokia reportedly plans to launch an Android-based smartphone at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, which is slated to start on 24 February.

Nokia engineers began developing the Android-based smartphone before the Finnish company closed the $7.4 billion mobile business sale with Microsoft.

Aimed at the emerging markets, the Android-based Nokia phone will not have access to some apps and features normally offered on Google’s Android platform as well as the Google Play app store.

Instead, the new Nokia phone will be equipped with digital services that were created by Microsoft and Nokia, such as streaming music service MixRadio, mapping service Here and the Nokia application store.

This strategy is similar to the approach taken by Amazon.com, which utilised a modified version of Android to power its Kindle tablets that do not use Android apps.

Once known as the king of mobile phones in emerging markets, Nokia lost ground due to its slow response to Android’s popularity.

In fact, Nokia’s Symbian-powered devices accounted for a large share of mobile phone sales in India just a few years ago. Last year, however, 93 per cent of smartphones shipped there were powered by Android, based on estimates by research firm IDC.

According to Neil Mawston, an analyst at Strategy Analytics, “Android has the entry-level smartphone market almost all to itself.”

“Microsoft’s missteps in the low-end smartphone market are costing it and Nokia huge amounts of lost volume.”

Last fall, Microsoft revealed that it needed to sell 50 million units of Lumia Windows phones to break even.

In January, Nokia announced that it sold 30 million Lumia phones in 2013.

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