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Nokia's Android operating system pops up in leaked image

Earlier reports claimed Nokia is working on an Android phone, and now we get a peek at the operating system.

Could this be an Android OS from Nokia? @evleaks

Evidence that Nokia is working on an Android phone is mounting. First, we got a glimpse of the hardware, codenamed Normandy, and today we're getting a first look at the software and operating system that will run on this rumored device.

The first images of the company's Android user interface were leaked by frequent Twitter tipster @evleaks. The images show a series of three design mockups of a what appears to be heavily-modified version Android on a Nokia device, but it's not clear that this operating system is in fact Android.

Cell phone manufacturers often modify the "pure" Android operating system released by Google to include their own designs and software features, such as Samsung's TouchWiz interface and S Voice voice-control service. Looking at the leaked photos, the OS looks more like a newer, more feature-rich version of Nokia's Asha operating system, which Nokia uses on its lower-cost Asha phones sold in emerging markets. It certainly doesn't look like any form of Android I've seen before, and it's nothing like Windows Phone either.

The leaked images reveal a few features inside the alleged Normandy phone, including support for two SIM cards (a popular feature in Europe, Asia, and South America), a pre-installed Skype app, and some sort of notifications system.

The notion that Nokia would be building an Android phone is a bit strange, considering Microsoft is poised to purchase Nokia's mobile business in a $7.2 billion deal announced in September 2013. It's entirely possible that Nokia was working on Normandy and its own version of Android before any sort of deal was discussed. It's also plausible that as Nokia has become more popular in emerging markets, where customers are seeking low-cost smartphones, Microsoft sees an opportunity to continue that vision with Android instead of the lesser-known Asha OS. Whatever Nokia's reason to build an Android phone, we'll keep you updated on this device as we learn more.

We've reached out to Nokia about the leaked photos, and the company said it doesn't comment on rumors or speculation.