Nokia on Monday officially unveiled their latest smartphone, the X series family. What makes these phones so interesting is they are the first batch of Android phones released by Nokia. A total of three models: the X, X+ and the XL were announced.
All three phones feature the Lumia design and utilized low-cost hardware to keep prices really low. The X will be retailing at 89 Euros, X+ at 99 Euro and XL for 109 Euros. The Verge reported that the X will not be making its way to North America, Japan, Korea, or Western European countries but will only be available in Eastern Europe, Asia, South America, and elsewhere globally.
Such a move is contradicting to their recent action of acquisition by Microsoft, which should be completed by first quarter of 2014 at $7.17 billion. The Nokia X devices runs on a heavily-modified version of Android which sees it stripping away Gmail, Chrome and even Maps. Nokia will be implementing their own services with a theme that looks akin to Windows-Phone UI and replacing the Google Play Store with their own variant of App Store.
This means that Nokia will be building their own store where all apps will be curated, even adding some third party stores to increase the availability of Android apps capable of running on these X devices. Developers will have to make limited changes to the code before compilation to ensure full compatibility.
Nokia X looks like its cousin – the Lumia 520; featuring only 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage space which is expandable via microSD. One noticeable internal difference is that the Nokia X has dual-SIM capability which the Lumia 520 don’t. The X has a 3-megapixel fixed focus camera too. According to first hands-on impressions online, the X user interface can be frustrating and sluggish. Multitasking would be the last thing you want to even think about as the lag is noticeable as compared to other entry level smartphones.
Android (Jelly Bean – the X runs on 4.1.2) can be really laggy in the first place, by running it on such limited hardware specs is only going to make things worse. Moreover, Nokia has also combined the Home and Back button of Android on the X. This will definitely cause a lot of confusion to consumers. As for now, I just hope that over the course of next few months to come, Nokia would provide an update for it to run Android 4.4 (KitKat) which should see some improvements where performance is concerned.
The bundling of key Microsoft services make it so obvious that Nokia is trying to attract users towards the Microsoft’s ecosystem, instead of really focused on making Android flavoured phones for the masses. One thing for sure: Microsoft sure isn’t that happy with these X devices. So for those of you out there, if you are constantly hoping for a Nokia Android phone, this may be your one and only chance to get them. The future of Android on Nokia phones is questionable nce the acquisition closes.