Nokia has unveiled three new Android smartphones at the World Mobile Congress event in Barcelona, marking the first time in year that the firm has used an operating system other than Windows Phone.

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The Android smartphones are especially surprising in light of Microsoft’s imminent acquisition of Nokia’s mobile device and services business, which is set to be completed by March 31st. However, rumours of the smartphone release have been ongoing for a few months, with Nokia allegedly working under the codename ‘Normandy’. Its Android phones will work under its Nokia X platform, which will allow Android developers to take advantage of it.

Although the phones contain an Android open-source platform, they will direct users to Microsoft services and use the Lumia interface. Users will also be unable to use the Google Play applications store or other Google services. LINE will be available on these handsets, which will allow people to use Nokia X phones for gaming, imaging and social sharing. Several other top-selling apps will also be available on the phones, including Plants vs Zombies 2, Spotify, Skype and Vine.

The new devices should cost less than £125, with Nokia hoping that this will allow them to get a foothold in the rapidly-expanding lower-cost smartphone market.

Despite the fact that Nokia was the world’s second-biggest mobile handset manufacturer in 2013 – behind Samsung – it posted a massive £654 million loss that year, and is heavily reliant on emerging markets, where it sells traditional mobile phones. It does not even feature in the world’s top five smartphone manufacturers, despite the relative success of its Nokia Lumia line.

Microsoft may be wondering how the new Android smartphones will impact the success of its Windows Phones and affect it post-takeover. It could be asked, was Microsoft aware of the plans? Would it have bought Nokia if it was aware? Will it halt production of the Nokia X line after it takes control?

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