Nokia Lumia 1320

After reading a Forbes article two days ago highlighting 24 countries where Windows Phones outsells the iPhone – which disregards the fact that Microsoft is gaining traction in markets where the iPhone doesn’t compete because Windows Phone sales are most in the low-end – I wanted to write a reality check type of an article.

Today, both Nokia and Microsoft were served a reality check after the struggling Finnish handset maker reported a whopping 29 percent lower handset revenue in the Christmas quarter. Worse, sales are decelerating at an alarming clip: Nokia said it sold 8.2 million phones during the Christmas quarter versus Wall Street consensus of ten million units. And they only sold 30 million handsets during 2013.

The company has now scheduled a press conference at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in February amid persisting rumors of a budget Android phone with the Nokia logo on it, the ambitious project apparently code-named Normandy…

Nokia’s Q4 2013 earnings report revealed a drop in Lumia sales during the all-important Christmas quarter, despite the company more than doubling the 13.3 million handsets sold during 2012. Nokia tellingly attributed the overall handset decline to the weak performance of its the smartphone unit.

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Nokia’s smartphone shipments since the first Lumia launch, via Financial Times.

This is bad news for Microsoft as Nokia comprises 85 percent of all Windows Phone sales, even more so given a couple of quarters of promising growth. If you go to Amazon.com, the best-selling Nokia device, the Lumia 1020, sits at #60, far behind brands like Casio.

We also know Nokia is about to announce something soon as the invites just went out for its press conference scheduled to take place on Monday February 24 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Nokia MWC 2014 invite

Nokia sources told The Verge that the media event will serve as a launchpad for the Normandy project, an Android-driven Nokia handset. It’s safe to assume that any such introduction would have to come with Microsoft’s blessing. Windows Phone 8.1 should be detailed in full at the Build conference in April, the publication learned.

Here are some purported Normandy UI shots by prominent leaker @evleaks.

More shots can be found below and here, here, here, here and here.

The Android software + the Lumia 1020 camera combo sounds compelling, no?

Nokia Normandy (image 002)

As soon as Android started to gain meaningful traction around the world, I felt sorry for Nokia as the firm had wasted precious time attempting to consolidate its many mobile operating systems and services.

I’ve always felt that Nokia would have been the best fit for Android. The company has unmatched distribution footprint in the farthest places on Earth and its brand used to be synonymous with mobile phones.

Nokia Normandy (image 001)

And compared to other Android backers, Nokia’s high-end devices have great build quality, its industrial design praised the world over. And, Nokia’s mobile camera and photography expertise remains, for the most part, unmatched in this industry.

Nokia badly needed a solid platform to glue it all together and deliver cohesive user experiences and Android was the obvious choice. Sadly, the company lacked the courage to admit itself that the smartphone race is really about the platform, software and services, all areas where it just couldn’t compete with Silicon Valley tech titans.

Nokia Normandy (image 003)

If Nokia went Android five years ago, the mobile landscape would have been drastically different by now. Which brings me to my question of the day: is Nokia’s rumor Android move a typical case of too little, too late?

Sound off in the comments.

  • Paweł Brewczyński

    How Microsoft Company – Nokia. Release Android Phone ?

    • Guest

      Seeing as Microsoft makes like $10 from every Android don’t see why they would be giving it out for free it’s a shame WP lacks Apps but it’s catching up Android is straight garbage has 99% malware

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        I agree. If for some reason the iPhone didn’t meet my needs I’d likely switch to a Windows Phone of some sort. Not that I’ve ever personally come across a situation where my iPhone has failed me…

      • Abdl

        In what way would the iPhone not meet your demands?

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Exactly! I’ve yet to come across something I need / want to do that my iPhone cannot…

      • Dani Hayes

        I agree. I’d much rather have Windows phone rather than an Android.

      • Dan

        Android is far from garbage.
        99% malware?
        Getting your statistics from the big book of ignorance I see.

      • anonymous

        I hear a lot of people speaking about the vulnerabilities of Android OS as being malware prone, let me say that they are speaking nonsense,
        Windows OS for computer is the most vulnerable OS in the world and it
        takes a PC just 1.5 min to get infected if detected as
        unprotected(fact), meanwhile majority of people using Android don’t use
        Antivirus and been using their cellphone for couple of years and never
        get infected.Another complaint about not frequent update,buying a very
        popular smartphone and studying something called Cyanogen will open doors to
        long lasting frequent updates to latest OS, less fragmentation, and a very original Android experience with no bloatware.Besides, Android device can always be flashed back and forth to any compatible firmware, no restrictions.

      • D R

        Um, Android OS is prone to malware, and increasingly so because there are so many Android devices with outdated versions of Android that have known, published vulnerabilities, that make them easy to attack.

        That Windows OS thing you mention regards a Windows XP (original release) machine, directly connected to the internet, would be likely to get infected before it could download any service pack to fix the vulnerabilities [this was in articles publlshed a long time, after XP SP 2 was released]. More current OS’s, even the dreaded Vista, weren’t nearly as vulnerable.

      • anonymous

        of course prone, which OS isn’t , but u don’t get people using android handsets come up to u saying they have been infected, instead u could encounter people with updated antiviruses getting virus-ed despite the protection. now ur statement maybe true about the article being outdated but i didn’t mention any OS to be clear, it’s a general fact that I read, could be the original XP if i had digged deeper, now I like ur confidence in the security in Windows OS , so I dare u to use your computer with windows and net connection without antivirus for a month, or if it’s too much, i give u two weeks, coz my friends including me have been using phones with Android without protection till date.

    • Jason Baroni

      It’s about money!

  • Inseltraeumer

    I’d thought Nokia was under an exclusive contract with Microsoft and thus can’t just switch the OS…

  • Dan

    Nice article.
    I agree, Nokia should of went with android. Windows OS was a very bad move.
    Lumia 1020 with android would of been great.

    • Rowan09

      People won’t buy the Nokia regardless of OS until they change that ugly style.

      • Dan

        I would of considered (if it had android) but I hate Windows OS.
        I’ve come to realise that the camera is more important to me than I thought. My next phone will most likely be iPhone though since it has apps/camera/build going for it.

      • Rowan09

        Oh ok I never really messed around with the camera but I would love to.

    • felixtaf

      I will take a 1020 if there is no bump in the back. Dont care if its WP or android

  • Jason Baroni

    Just to creat an illusion you can download much more apps from a Store on your Windows skinned Android (I am not against it). I really hope Microsoft to invest more money on developers.

    • D R

      Nokia can’t release an Android phone, now that they are [or soon will be] a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft. It would kill WindowsPhone, because it would be admitting that WP isn’t selling. Especially right after MS purchases the division, this is NOT going to happen. They might as well just close up Nokia if they are going to start producing Android phones.

      What more can Microsoft spend on developers? They already pay both large and small companies to make apps for WP, and I’m sure they give away phones if devs ask for them. Tools aren’t that expensive [I think starting at free].

      And Microsoft definitely doesn’t want to go down the route BlackBerry is going with paying every dev, as now there are boatloads of REALLY crappy do-little apps littering their store…

  • Abdl

    I honestly would buy a Nokia android phone…to know how android gonna feel on a nokia.

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      If it isn’t stock it will likely perform awfully…

      • felixtaf

        Provided, the leaked specs are weak for a skinned android device.

  • Laszlo Gaspar

    Its odd because the real world doesn’t reflect the market share, particularly in the UK. Coming back to School from the Christmas holidays I found that a lot of people received a Nokia Lumia 520 as their next smartphone. My class is pretty much split three ways now, 5 Nokia’s, 5 iPhones and about 10 Samsung phones, namely the S3 and 4.

    • No Moto G or Moto X?

      • felixtaf

        Lumia 520 was selling for 70 and 80$ on christmas holidays. Off-contract!
        Thats the best selling WP uptodate…

      • Laszlo Gaspar

        Nope, I dont know anyone with one.

    • madmaxmedia

      The sum total of the real world is the market share. But within that, there are going to be variances (like your class). Somewhere in the world, there’s probably a class where there are 15 Nokias and 5 webOS phones.

      • Laszlo Gaspar

        I agree there will be variances but its the same pretty much across the school. It seems like there is almost a delay in what the market share says and what phones people actually have. For example last year almost half of people in my school had blackberry’s despite there rapid decline. This year its hard to spot anyone with one.

  • felixtaf

    Would love to see an android from Nokia… WP is ok, but Nokia as a phone maker still has fans for their products. Nokia + Android will be a win-win to android and Nokia fans.

    That being said, the leaked Nokia normandy looks like Nokia Asha with weak specs. My question is If a company wants to enter a new business, will they release a highend smartphone or cheap smartphone?

    Have to wait and see….

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    Too little too late ?

  • Roger Riekki

    Yes sadly to little to late.

  • anonymous

    Lovely article which captures my thought I had since the first samsung galaxy S device was launched. Sometimes pride can be damaging not only to individuals but also to big companies as well, or let’s call it adaptation. My guess is Nokia spent lots of fortune on symbian and nortel and didn’t want to adapt as they were optimistic about the goodwill of their brand.If 5 years ago anyone told me that Samsung would rule the Mobile world(along with apple), I would have laughed really bad, just like Steve Balmer(in 2007). i put it this way, nokia failed to realise the future in touchscreen, and instead went for E series with qwerty keyboard and other variants. They failed to measure the impact apps can have on mobile and kept their app portfolio low, like blackberry(another shortsighted company). As years passed by, they realized the inevitable i.e the death of Symbian, so they chose to migrate, but failed to realize the value of apps again, so they migrated to windows phone(which I think is because of the likely cash incentive given by microsoft, just like how they are swaying companies like samsung,htc,sony etc today,and they were financially stricken and moving to android would mean admitting defeat, and no incentives, which is a really shortsighted viewpoint). As i sit here today on my laptop, i still write that Nokia makes the most superior of hardware and battery, which is unrealized as they have lost the attention of the general public, and about to be subsidized under a company who is not going to give them another chance as they have a proprietary os and letting other os coexist along with their is very much not possible(seems shameful and being appreciative of one of their arch enemies i.e google).

  • stniuk

    The MS hug of death.

  • stniuk

    99% of mobile malware is on Android.

  • Justin Reyes

    30 million units is a lot for a company like Nokia and Microsoft, a newcomer in the modern smartphone game