Nokia will unveil a low-cost smartphone running a version of Google Inc's Android operating system, despite the company's close partnership with Microsoft Corp and its competing Windows system, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The handset division of the Finnish company, which is in the final stages of being acquired by Microsoft, will show off the new phone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month, the report said on Monday, citing unidentified sources who were familiar with the matter.
Nokia and Microsoft declined to comment.
The new Android phone will be aimed at emerging markets and will not feature some of Google's higher-end, custom Android features.
Microsoft and its main handset partner Nokia have struggled to make an impression in the smartphone market dominated by Samsung's Android devices and Apple Inc's iPhone.
According to technology research firm, Strategy Analytics, 79 percent of smartphones shipped worldwide last year ran on Android, 15 percent were iPhones running Apple's iOS and only 4 percent ran Windows Phone software.
(Also see: Android in 79 percent of smartphones sold in 2013, iOS share falls: SA)
Nokia has been rumoured to be developing a budget Android smartphone for some months now, a device that is supposedly being developed under the Project Normandy programme.
Expected to be called Nokia X, the rumoured low-cost Android handset is said to sport a highly customised, or forked version, of Google's Android operating system, such as what Amazon uses for its Kindle Fire range of tablets.
While previous reports claimed the Nokia X smartphone would run a forked version of Android 4.4 KitKat, one of the most recent purported leaks suggested the Finnish manufacturer was using Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Stay tuned for more details about Nokia's rumoured budget Android phone ahead of its expected MWC 2014 launch.
Written with inputs from Reuters