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Microsoft is set to launch a ‘Nokia by Microsoft’ Lumia phone using Android instead of its own Windows Phone platform. That’s the word from always–on–the–money mobile-watcher @evleaks, who made the claim this morning on Twitter.

The move would be a huge step for Microsoft, which snapped-up Nokia and its Lumia brand name in a multi–billion dollar takeover that was only completed earlier this year.

It was widely believed the Big M did so to bring its hardware and software development together so it could push its struggling Windows Phone OS.

An Android Lumia phone would not be the first Nokia–based device to use Google’s system.

Earlier this year the company released a series of Nokia X handsets, which use a so–called forked version of Android and are aimed at developing markets.

It’s not yet clear whether Microsoft would use the same approach for its higher–end Lumia device.

This would allow it to dispense with Google’s services such as search and maps and instead promote its own tools, including Bing and Nokia’s excellent Here maps, while still piggbacking on Android’s base code.

If it opted for stock Android, that would raise questions about the future of Windows Phone itself.

Expect to hear plenty more about this development as Microsoft readies its first ‘Nokia by Microsoft’ handsets for release later this year.

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