One of the biggest questions surrounding the Microsoft acquisition of Nokia’s device business concerned Nokia’s Android devices. The popular thought was that Microsoft would begin phasing out the Android devices, in favor of its own Windows Phone OS. However, it seems that Microsoft will continue Nokia’s Android push, at least for the time being. On Tuesday, Nokiasoft launched the Nokia X2 handset.
The $135 Nokia X2 represents a solid upgrade to the original Nokia X Android device. The X2 is packed with a dual-core Snapdragon, clocked at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of storage – expandable to 32GB via a MicroSD card, a 1800 mAh battery that Microsoft clams will provide around 13 hours of talk time, a 4.3 inch display (800 x 480), and a 5 MP camera. While these features are not going to blow anyone away, it represents a decent entry-level device. Also, the new design is pretty interesting. According to Microsoft’s announcement blog post:
The Nokia X2’s stylish exterior remains as bold as the original Nokia X but incorporates a brand-new cool translucent outer layer, making it really shine whatever the time of day.1
Calling the X2’s operating system Android is not really accurate. The Nokia X2 runs a heavily skinned version of Android, dubbed the Nokia X software platform. The platform seems more like Windows Phone than Android, but you can download “from an extensive selection of [Android] apps – including favourites like Instagram and Temple Run 2 – directly from Nokia Store. Or choose from hundreds of thousands of Android apps easily available from a wide selection of other app stores like 1Mobile Market, Aptoide, SlideME, Mobango and Yandex.”2
While phones are in the pipeline for a long time, an this is without a doubt a phone that Nokia was working on prior to the acquisition, Microsoft huge marketing push could be a sign of things to come. Though there is no doubt Microsoft will continue to favor Windows Phone, selling entry-level Android devices – skinned up to run like Windows Phone – is a minor hedge. Though Windows Phone is seeing a steady rise in use, Android and iOS are still the kings. The X2 represents a way for Microsoft to introduce a Windows phone-esqe UI to users, under the guise of Android.