A couple weeks ago, we found an analyst calling for Microsoft to ditch the Windows Phone platform for the Android Open Source Platform as a way for Microsoft to finally get more support for apps, while store offering Microsoft services. Turns out, that was half on the mark – Microsoft is by no means ditching Windows Phone, but they are turning to the Android Open Source Platform by using newly-acquired Nokia.
The Nokia X line of smartphones will all run on a forked version of Android, but this won’t look like any Android phone you’re used to seeing. The UI actually looks a lot like Windows Phone, except instead of Live Tiles, you’re just getting plain old tiles. You’ll also be getting Microsoft and Nokia services, like HERE Maps and OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive), instead of Google services. The upshot is that most Android apps – 75% – can be ported right over to the Nokia Store with little effort on the part of the developers. So, Microsoft gets the best of both worlds – they can try to cash in on Android, while staying true to their pet project in Windows Phone.
Predictably, Microsoft isn’t trying to take on Android where the competition is the most expensive – the high end land of the Galaxy S series – but rather in the low-cost market. The Nokia X series includes the X, X+, and the XL. The X and X+ are 4” phones with 800 x 480 IPS displays. They will both run on dual-core 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and both have MicroSD card slots that carry up to 32 GB. Both also have 3 MP cameras. The difference is that the X+ comes with a free 4 GB MicroSD and has 768 MB of RAM, compared to 512 MB in the X.
The XL, as you might expect, is a little bigger. It’s a 5” phone that is otherwise the same as the X+, except for a couple camera upgrades – a 5 MP rear camera with auto-focus and flash and the addition of a 2 MP front-facing camera.
The Nokia X series will hit Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The Nokia X is available now for €89, while the X+ and XL will arrive early Q2 for €99 and €109, respectively.