Tom Warren:

Multiple sources have revealed to The Verge that Normandy is designed as an Asha equivalent to push low-cost devices with access to more traditional smartphone apps — something the company has struggled to achieve for its Series 40-powered Asha line. Nokia’s effort is similar to Amazon’s own use of Android, allowing the company to customize it fully for its own use. Nokia employees working on Normandy were informed the device is planned as a 2014 release, and one insider described the Normandy effort as “full steam ahead.” Unless Nokia manages to release Normandy ahead of its Microsoft deal, we can’t imagine Microsoft is interested in using Android to target the low-end over its own Windows Phone operating system.

Filed under: why Microsoft had to buy Nokia.

This entire post seems to be a sort of convoluted response to my complaint a couple days ago that most tech reviewers don’t have the balls to pick their favorite product and stick by it.

Here, Chris Ziegler notes that when most people ask him what phone to buy, he resorts to “laziness” and gives a stock response:

"You know, honestly, just buy an iPhone."

He doesn’t own an iPhone, mind you, and prefers the Galaxy Nexus. But he seems concerned that giving that recommendation will ultimately piss people off or require too much of an explanation. 

That thought, in and of itself, is interesting. He’s recommending a phone he doesn’t actually think is the best because he thinks others will think it’s the best. (Which itself suggests that their reviews are subjective — more on that in a bit.) 

Obviously, he’s right that everyone has different tastes, so it would be tough to recommend the right phone to everyone. But that doesn’t really address what I brought up. Ziegler only does that at the end:

Coincidentally, that’s why The Verge will never simply say “just buy this phone.” It’s not that simple, it never is. We can recommend you great phones by platform, by carrier, or even by specific need. But there’ll never be a one-size-fits-all answer. In fact, more often than not, the phone that’s right for you probably isn’t the phone that’s right for me.

Okay, but I don’t care if The Verge as a whole recommends one phone — how could it? The publication consists of several authors all with different tastes. The Verge itself is not a sentient being.

I care what the authors themselves recommend. At TechCrunch, I’d often hear “I love your posts but hate X’s” or vice versa. Increasingly, with Twitter and other syndication means, readers gravitate around the authors they like, not the sites in general. They learn to trust those authors and value their honest opinions — or the opposite, they learn that they hate their tastes and make decisions based on that.

Again, I’m not saying The Verge itself has to recommend one phone — which would be weird — I just saying the authors should man up and say which phone is their personal pick. Ziegler does in this post, which is great, but in the reviews themselves, they’re often summed up with vague, kumbaya bullshit about the ecosystem having many impressive players. 

Or, if The Verge truly thinks their publication shouldn’t feature posts that take a stand on one phone from the writer’s perspective — that is, they’re trying to be oddly and unnaturally objective — perhaps they should remove the author names from their posts.

[thanks Todd]