Microsoft is reportedly working on a Nokia Lumia smartphone powered by Android, rather than Redmond’s own Windows Phone 8 operating system. The move would be a huge one for Microsoft, which until now has emphasized making Windows Phone a viable alternative to Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
News of the Android-powered Lumia device came by way of @evleaks, though the only information the popular Twitter tipster had to offer was that the smartphone was on its way. A Lumia handset running Android would be a first for Microsoft and Nokia, which until now have only used Google’s OS on entry-level phones.
Nokia debuted its X line of smartphones in February, saying the budget-friendly, Android-powered handsets would serve as a gateway to bringing Microsoft’s Windows Phone to the masses. To do that, the phones were loaded with a forked version of Android that looked a lot like Windows Phone’s Live Tile interface.
The catch was that the phones didn’t run Google’s own Android apps, such as Gmail, Google Search and Google Drive. Instead, customers had to use such Microsoft apps as Outlook, Bing and One Drive. By forcing buyers to use these Microsoft services, Nokia hoped to get them hooked on Microsoft’s apps, which would eventually translate into more people purchasing Windows Phone-powered Nokia smartphones.
Since Microsoft purchased Nokia, the Android-powered Nokia X2 has also debuted, though it too targets developing markets. If this report proves true, we could see an Android-powered Lumia in the U.S. sometime soon.