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Nokia X Android phone to launch this month despite Microsoft deal

Microsoft's bid to buy Nokia put the Nokia X Android phone in doubt, but it seems it's been given the green light to launch this month.

The hotly-rumoured Nokia X Android phone has been given the green light even though the Finnish company is becoming a part of Microsoft, according to new reports.

The Wall Street Journal quotes "people familiar with the matter" who say the new phone will take the stage at MWC this month. The launch, which was planned before Microsoft stepped in to buy the handset division of Nokia, is reported to have been put in doubt by the buy, but will now go ahead.

It appears that the Android-powered Nokia, allegedly codenamed the Nokia Normandy or Nokia X, will be an entry-level blower to fill in the gaps in the Windows Phone line-up. Despite the success of the affordable Nokia Lumia 520, low-cost Android devices largely have the budget end of the market to themselves.

The new report appears to confirm that the Nokia Android phone won't get apps from Google Play, but instead from an external app store. That seems like a misstep to me; but by doing so Microsoft dodges the Google apps license fee and stops owners of the phone giving the Big G a cut of every app purchase they make. That should help Gates' mates sleep at night if they can tell themselves they're not funnelling money into Google's pockets.

Nokia's MWC press conference, where we could reasonably expect to see the X, or Normandy, or whatever it's called, takes place at the crack of dawn on 25 February, the first day of the trade show.

Mobile World Congress is the phone and tablet extravaganza held each year in Barcelona, where the mobile industry gathers to shout the odds and show off their wares. We'll be there mob-handed to bring you the first news, videos and hands-on first impressions of the new Nokia and all the coolest kit you need to know about -- so keep it CNET.

Other highlights of MWC will include the Samsung Galaxy S5, which will be unveiled at Samsung's Unpacked event on the same day as the Nokia press conference.