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Prototype of Nokia's 'Normandy' Android phone revealed on Sina Weibo

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The leaks around Nokia's "Normandy" Android phone continued on Monday, with a tweet featuring an image of a prototype that first appeared on China's Twitter clone, Sina Weibo.

The photo is only that -- a photo. There is no information on specifications or even size. However, the rumors circulating around the device are that it was going to be a low-to-mid-range device with a forked version of Android, including a custom UI.

Think Amazon.com's Fire OS: It's unclear, but Nokia may have forked Android to the point that it won't be able to gain access to Google apps and services, which the company has the right to withhold. Similarly, the Kindle Fire tablets from Amazon.com do not have, for example, Google Play pre-installed.

Would Microsoft -- which is still in the process of acquiring Nokia's device division -- allow this project to continue? And if so, why would it.

GigaOm has an interesting theory. It's already been theorized that Normandy -- which, as we noted, is forked and heavily customized -- is a replacement for Nokia's low-end platform, Asha, which is based on the creaky S40 platform. Here is the reasoning:

It’s not likely that Microsoft can get easily get its software and services running on S40 devices but it makes no sense to abandon the brand. Instead, switching it over to Android gives the company a way to push Asha as a modern-looking, low-cost line as an entry point for Microsoft software. And when those Asha users are ready for something more robust, they can step up to Windows Phone in the future.

However, Nokia has no Appstore for apps as does Amazon.com, which uses the Amazon Appstore as a substitute for Google Play. Amazon.com also built its own browser, too.

It is still hard to wrap our head around the possibility of Microsoft using its rival's code in a product, but stranger things have happened. We'll see what really occurs once the Microsoft - Nokia deal closes.

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