New photos of Nokia’s upcoming Android handset, code named Normandy, have leaked — and rather oddly, it appears the standard Android UI has been stripped out and replaced with something that looks a bit like Windows Phone. In a separate leak, it would appear that the Normandy hardware design, which looks almost identical to a Nokia Lumia handset, is near-final. It would seem that, despite the imminent finalization of Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia, this rather odd device is still on schedule to be released this year.For the last few years, and despite the Microsoft acquisition, there has been a persistent rumor that Nokia is working on an Android phone. We always assumed that this was an internal test — a prototypical “what if?” and nothing more. It is not unusual for hardware companies to try out different architectures internally — it simply isn’t sensible to have all of your eggs in one (Windows Phone) basket, after all. In short, we always thought that Normandy was a backup in case Symbian, Asha, or Windows Phone didn’t work out. Now that we have photos of near-final hardware, though, it’s pretty clear that Normandy isn’t just an internal prototype.
We won’t say much about Normandy’s hardware design, because it’s basically the same as Nokia’s Lumia line of phones but with a single Back button at the bottom. Instead, we’re going to talk about the software. As you can see in the image below, Normandy is running a version of Android that has been tailored to look a lot like Windows Phone — or, perhaps, a more colorful and grid-like variant of Symbian. Not only do some of the icons look very similar to their Windows 8/Windows Phone counterparts, but there’s also the interesting inclusion of Skype and Here Maps (which are presumably installed by default). The right side of the image seems to show a notification tray — but it might also be an app launcher, or some mix of the two.