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Attacking from the bottom: why Nokia's Android-powered phones make sense

Today, at the start of Mobile World Congress, Nokia made it official. They are building Android-powered phones . I’m not going to rehash all of the data or walk you through the basics of the phone since that’s already been covered in-depth quite well today.

While some at Microsoft may be embarrassed by what Nokia is doing, I can see how it’s a smart move that will help.

First, let’s consider that these phones are targeted towards growth markets, which is just a different way of saying they are cheaper phones for less-wealthy countries. There are really only two options for price sensitive buyers: Android or Windows Phone. Because of the ecosystem and variety on the low end, Android is winning, while Nokia has started to play in this playground with its lower-priced Lumia phones — the Lumia 520 is the predominant reason Nokia holds such a commanding lead in Windows Phone marketshare.

But this move by Nokia will give potential customers of the Nokia X and X+, and the bigger Nokia XL most of the benefits of the app selection on Android while still presenting a very an experience that looks a lot like Windows Phone.

Nokia has done a nice job of unifying the way the phone looks to a user, no matter what whether it runs their forked version of the Android Open Source Project or Windows Phone. And since both Android and Windows versions of its phones will be backed up by Microsoft cloud services, thats another level of consistency. The goal here is to hook customers with a cheap device — the Nokia X series — and lure them up the device chain the the more expensive, and presumably more profitable, Lumia series Windows Phones.

Microsoft needs to win with the low-priced market, and it’s been on the right track so far with the cheaper Lumia products. I think these Android phones give Nokia and Microsoft more ammunition to capture that next billion smartphone users.

(Chris Umiastowski is a contributing financial writer to the Mobile Nations network. You can see the rest of his posts here at AndroidCentral, iMore and CrackBerry.)

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Reader comments

Attacking from the bottom: why Nokia's Android-powered phones make sense

253 Comments

No it doesn't make sense. No matters how many articles are written, why couldn't a Windows run with same spec, has no good enough reason. Why couldn't 520 be made cheaper?

Also anyone want to explain how can they get 200,000 android apps on that phone without Google Play store? This is a feature phone user who ISNT going to side load or root btw.

Exactly....No matter how much this phone LOOKS like a windows phone it still performs like an android phone and why on earth would someone with an android forked device then say HMM...Let's go to a completely different operating system(that is still struggling to get apps) vs let's get a REAL ANDROID device that has the full playstore AND google services.

This makes me wonder...will the Nokia X line actually have an official youtube App?
Furthermore, these phones will only increase Android's market share so again tell me how this is even remotely a good idea? This sounds incredibly stupid and the fact that ironically sites like engadget/the verge are the ones making sense about this blows my mind :P

WIndows Phone 8.1 really better blow my mind simply because this whole Android thing(And the other rumors about potentially bringing Android apps to Windows Phone) is really beginning to turn me off the OS completely. Nothing about this makes any sense from a windows phone standpoint.

Exactly! From X to "what?" - what phone gives me ton more apps, lots Google services and Microsoft services too? Android.
Does WP have comparable apps? No. Does WP have Google services? No. Does WP have Microsoft services? Yeah, but look Samsung Galaxy S5 has Microsoft services too! And its what cool kids use in modern smartphone using places... X user "ah ok, my next phone is S5, Nokia phones lag so much. My X phone is crap after 10 apps". There goes that potential buyer who would have fallen head over heals for Lumia.

I say, how is Nokia X (forked android) with Amazon apps better than Lumia 520 (WP8.1) with 200,000 WP apps better? Better for "luring" me or you to buy a Lumia 920 2 yrs down the line?

If i am not mistaken they are not the best selling line of android tablets. Furthermore, Amazon use kindle fire in a different manner than what Nokia and microsoft are attempting to do with this tracesty. 

This is forked android, with the Google Services removed. This will have no more google services than WP. Furthermore, WP has many comparable apps for numerous applications. Not to mention, other android devices will have less Microsoft apps and services than X. Lastly, the interface is comparable to WP. Not exact, but comparible, which matters still.

I wonder if the owner can download a third party Android menu? This would undermine the whole vision.

Might also be a good move for Nokia / Microsoft to design a menu alternative to download for regular Android users as Facebook did to promote Nokia / Microsoft services as Facebook did with their services on their Android menu.

And unless this is hacked and/or sideloaded, it won't run anything google related either. Keep in mind we are talking about this phone being marketed toward people who aren't really worried about 'flashing roms' an all that.

Folks you are missing the strategy here. Its not about Windows Phone market share. As hard as it is for some of you to hear it is about selling MS based cloud services.

Whether they are successful or not this is what they are going for. I personally think its a good move because before now Google dominated the low end. And in answer to the second poster about why couldn't they get a 520 WP to be lower cost. Google is killing this end of the market and MS needs to do something before it is too late. There Re dozens of Google phones at that price point and the 520 is but one pho e on very crowded shelves. This is a way to start to grab shelf space. At the same time MS is lowering the hardware entry requirements for WP more OEMs will start to ship WP devices. Again, more shelf space, but this takes time. But here is the bigger point, Android is free whereas WP licenses are not. So for Nokia (and MS) it is cheaper to do.

This is just one step in a multi layered strategy and once you see that you can appreciate this will help WP and sell services. There is no doubt the Nokia X will sell and for every sale that is direct removal of a Google services customer. Why do you think Google give the base Android code away for free?

75% of the Android apps run on this forked edition of Android so there will be a YouTube app, plus and again as part of the sound strategy MS has produces a full HTML5 version of YouTube that will work on both WP and the Nokia X

Lastly, why would bring 100,000's of Android apps to a curated Nokia store be a bad thing? It underpins another part of the strategy which is to attract developers to use MS services within their apps.

Yes there is concern about what this means for the WP developers but my belief is they have a head start and n dealing with MS services and this will bring more customers.

You are correct. For Nokia, this whole project was about survival. For Microsoft, this is about service revenue and NOT about upselling 2 yrs from now.

@HotJava ... your post on the other article by Daniel made a lot of sense ... and hence just asking ... what services revenue will microsoft get from these phones ? Will any user from these phones ever buy a paid Skype subscription ? The only service where i can see users buying is MixRadio ... however there are tons of free apps and ways to download free music !!!

Hi Prasun, its a good question but services don't have to be paid for to be of benefit to MS as the increased usage will drive ad revenue. It also drives people away from the competitive cloud services. Clearly it is better for MS to grow through adoption of its devices use of Bing, here maps, one drive, outlook.com etc.

This seems to be a stop-gap measure because WP 8.1 is coming out 6 months too late. This could have been avoided if they would have pushed out updates faster. Marketshare would be much improved also.

I'd like to agree with you but one of the problems they have is that there are not enough hardware manufacturers out there of Windows Phone devices. The changes to the hardware spec along with Windows 8.1 will help this.

you hit that right on the head so let me ask , how many Android devices are coming out in the next few weeks? how many WP8 devices?. Even now between yesterday and today WPCentral has  nothing but articles about an Android device.If you can beat them, or compete with them, you may as well join them. and that is what Nokia did. big deal they are selling MS services, not goggle.

It's not even a question. MS looses money on all their services except Office 365. There is no revenue to be had by offering these services to anybody. This isn't about revenue or profits, but about protecting existing investments. No company can afford to spend billions on a services like Skype, Bing, Maps, OneDrive, Office Online, etc. and then offer those services to only 4% of the population (us WP users). That would be services suicide.

 

This is bad for Windows Phone no matter how you slice it. People who can afford to buy this phone, and not the 520, will not be likely to afford a 520 (or equivalent) in the future either. Furthermore, once they get hooked in on Android apps, they may want to stay there. The better solution is the one MS is driving. By allowing the Snapdragon 200 to be used, amongst the elimiation of the camera and main keys, the OEM's, including Nokia, can make a WP that is more capable and just as cheap as these stupid Android phones. If MS is OK with this, then it's clear to me that some house cleaning is in order. This phone will only blunt WP's advance in the low cost market. Put out a 320 and 420 that hits the X and X+ price points and be done with it.

 

 

So the 520 is too expensive for some folk (as you said) and is not selling as well as you would like it to or anywhere as quickly as needed. It will take time for the new lower hardware specifications to work their way through the channels (at least a year before you get good ground cover), you have an Asha platform that is up against Android phones at close to the same price with many more features. What do you do?

This is a multipronged strategy where they are bringing lower end WP's and Nokia X phones. The common point is they are both selling MS services which will attract people to MS devices. Your alternative will cede more ground they can ill avoid and the market will have moved on by then. If there is one lesson that should be understood about mobile is a single dimensional (traditional hardware) approach is too slow and doesn't cover all the bases.

All reliant on the premise that Microsoft services are actually good enough to have the effect you claim will happen but if they weren't enough to attract people to WP in the first place why will they now?

Perhaps I am not making it clear enough. Services will be adopted, of this I have no doubt. They don't have to be nor did I ever say they would be the reason people would adopt a Nokia x device. Ask yourself what drove people to google services before they even created Android and you will have your answer. They were neither proven nor very good when they started but many people adopted them. Hint, it has something to do with $$$

Couldn't agree more. I'll stand on the sideline for now and will wait to see what microsoft does to this experiement once the takeover has been completed. If they stick to this I might just follow their incentive - and get an Android device instead. Way to FUBAR momentum on the low end, well done!

you forget that all android devices can sideload APK's. And it's not about having the most apps, as much as having the right apps in these developing markets. Nokia will likley have these apps available in their Nokia Store.

Exactly...given the ability to sideload apps, what incentive does this give to anyone to jump to windows phone if they can get all the apps window phone lacks on this phone?

You really need to pay more attention to who and where this phone will be sold. Stop thinking 'US', or any other place like that.

These are "feature phone" users. They have previously only used keypads with numbers and red, green button for calls. They wont sideload. If they were sideload crowd, they would buy such a cheap phone coz they would know what's worth their efforts to root.

on devices the have 400mb & 768mb of ram consectively. You put 30-40 apps on a low-end Android an it start throwing up; how do you think these are going to behave? On the demos at MWC they were lagging a bit.

Amazon appstore doesn't have 200K apps...does it? I am almost positive they don't because i remember when i briefly used one, they did not have a lot of apps at the time.

 

No way can a forked Android store be bigger than WP store. If it was, blogs would have bashed it every single time they used app argument.

It doesn't matter how many apps Amazon -- I think nearly 200,000 -- have, you're not going to be able to put that many on your phone anyway! It's about apps what people want and Amazon have most❕

Amazon has apps that WP doesn't? So that platform is worth the investment for my bank and credit card company to make apps for but not Windows Phone. I have surely missed out on this whole new OS!

Eh? What are you on about credit card? You going on like Nokia X is going to take over the world. Chill out mate ;)

Credit card app was example of big shot company. So a big shot company sees bigger market in Amazon store than WP store?

Magical Microsoft apps baby, don't forget. Or just nuke 'em from orbit, its the only way to be sure they die the horrible death they deserve.

Let's see the price before we judge. Those specs are dirt cheap, with nokia's buying power we are easily looking at around $40 for the x.

• Licensing Fees for Windows Phone = $$

• Currently Wimdows Phone does not support lack of capacitive buttons (shall be remedied with 8.1)

• Minimum requirements are not just about how fast the processor or how much memory the device has. A windows phone device is based of the Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD)

• It's not about how many apps they have, but about having specific apps desired in the target markets. This means Nokia doesn't have to rebuild the entire Play store; They just need to get the apps that count.

• Both Asha and Windows Phone have been outsold by Android handsets in these developing markets, due to apps and affordability.

Sorry, this might be a dumb question, but I haven't followed the news about these models. Basically the phones comes without access to google store?

People will need to get apps from amazon and other places?

+100000

I thought Asha and WP covered these cheaper markets just fine. This feels like an awkward medium. I see very little point in these phones at all. Especially as it doesn't even have the play store... Hate to be a negative Nancy, but people need to l stop pretending like everything is a good idea just because MS or Nokia did it..

It cannot get google play store access but maybe it can get apps,as their are apps like flash transferr and app share through Bluetooth and all that so one will get easily any app from other users like Samsung etc

Just curious, so you guys simply say that it's better for Nokia to keep focusing on Asha product rather than a bit uprade to this X family?

I just see this as a bigger replacement for the asha phone it might or not hurt the wp sale who knows...but what i am really pissed about is that this crap gets to have BBM before windows phone....it already has BBM.

Do we really need this many articles on this one line of phones...on a windows phone enthusiast site at that. This is a bit ridiculous now lmao I'm curious if android central has covered it this much

I love Nokia news in general but this phone pisses me off.
I hope Microsoft buries all traces of this phone next to the googleplex once Microsoft takes over.

AOSP... Forked Android... They can call it whatever they want... The Nokia X series won't bring more people to Windows Phone... A better idea is to block Google's services on all of Microsoft's services... We'll see how Android users fare without a Windows PC...

But think, they could only use google and gmaps and Gmail from a chromebook, or their android. That'd be it. All those PCs out there, all the android devices. And that would make people have to choose. And it scares me to say that I don't think too many would keep their PCs..

Exactly the point... Chromebooks aren't even useful... Microsoft has nothing to lose at this point... I say they play the game Google is playing with Windows Phone...

I bet Microsoft has thought of this and I'm sure they've voted against it.
I on the other hand would love to see the mayhem this would bring to all google users.

Let's hope they haven't... All development on Android would cease for a considerable amount of time... Just the thought of it makes me smile...

"All development on Android would cease for a considerable amount of time."..............what a clueless idiot you are my friend. Do you not know you can use the Android SDK on Linux.........................

I'm well aware of that... What's the point of development if users won't have a PC to use?... Well aware of options they have... But really, the number relying on Windows?...

It would only make sense if they had some incentive to make you transition to a Windows Phone from this X family. Right now, people would be using Microsoft's services, but not on Microsoft's devices, which is what Microsoft needs.

It's a bad idea. While it uses Microsoft services it doesn't use the same app ecosystem. The number one reason why many won't try another OS/brand is they have a lot vested in the ecosystem. Having to start all over is a costly proposition to many and with this phone you'd still have to do the same thing if you move to Windows Phone.

EXACTLY. These phones are dead end phones, or maybe push people in the Android direction because of the vested interest they now have in the Android apps.

These devices make no sense, especially as a gateway device to Windows Phone. Microsoft needs to kill these before they hit the store shelves.

Those apps that Nokia see's are critical to specific regions Nokia will make sure that they get ported to WP in time..

People will be buying these apps through a Nokia curated store, so there will be no "upgrade" path to another Android device. ie. if they get an Android phone in two years they won't get their previously bought apps from the X for free in Google Play. If MS were smart they'd offer an upgrade path to a Lumia device with all the apps on their X coming for free.

People who say "this is bad, why would someone upgrade to a Lumia that has less app" - remember people won't be upgrading for a year, two years, often more - by then if all goes well WP will have all the apps. Right now this will be the phone people can afford, better to tie them in now instead of letting them go to some other cheap Android device. People in these emerging markets like Nokia, so will go with this cool new X device. Hopefully in a couple of years they will have a little more money and can then get a WP device. If anything by then there will be a lot of cheaper WP devices from multiple manufacturers that they will be overwhelmed with choice. Right now however this is a stop-gap strategy.

Right idea, completely wrong conculsion.

These phones are for emerging markets, for people buying their first smartphone, i.e. people who are not switching from another ecosystem. Two years later, when they're locked into Outlook.com, OneDrive and Skype, what are they going to do?

Outlook.com, OneDrive and Skype are also all available on Android (and iOS). Two years later what would make them more likely to upgrade to Windows Phone than to Android?

Nonsense. At the end of the day, something that looks like one thing but isn't AND is something that it doesn't act like is going to infuriate users. What happens when these devices underperform but people say screw Nokia or "just more Microsoft crap"? They go get a real Android not a real Windows Phone.

They should have stuck with a clear recipe for success in the 500-series... Especially since the prices are not that different.

I get the intent, but it is bound to backfire.

Rockstarzz -- you sounding like you're butt-hurt now. Look mate get over it, your previous prediction -- if I remember rightly -- were totally wrong, in regards to Nokia never making an Android phone❗

Never said that. You are thinking of DJCSB. Btw, this isn't android. This is still a dumbed down version. Am I butt hurt? No. I am just unsure how this is so much better as every article here has tried to make it look? Nice to know you got it.

Nah mate -- you still sound butt-hurt to me, or you wouldn't be making snide comments about the articles. BTW, I know this isn't Android, and I never said it was, mate.... pmsl

All the Windows Phone (Microsoft fans) are butt-hurt except Windows Phone fans (Nokia fans). I understand their insecurity but what they don't understand is What NOKya went through when they had to sell their house to uplift a handicapped child (WP). [I use Lumia 800 and 900. Bought Lumia 920 for someone and getting Lumia 925 for myself (So, better you stop calling me a troll or android bug)]. Windows Phone 8.1 is getting to a point where WP8 should have been from get go. All WP7s should have been upgraded to WP8, regardless of how much hard work Microsoft would have to put. All WP-MS fans keep talking about how much life support Mr. Softie provided to Nokia ($1B/yr) but they seem to forget what Nokia did for Microsoft. They literally burned their house that they built for years. Nokia killed their baby (Symbian) to feed WP but still for every 25-30 symbian users, they probably got only 3-5 WP users. Nokia was helpless watching their fortune decline everyday like losing blood from a body. Their whole calculation that every Nokia fan will jump on to Nokia's next platform was proven as a huge disaster. It didn't happen and there are different theories to explain that. Anyway...this is history.

I believe Nokia is trying to get to lower price points with X phone where higher end Asha products are facing strong challenges from local android OEMs in China and India. Don't forget Lumia 520 sold well in emerging markets almost from the beginning but in developed markets it started doing well only when it was sold at a huge loss (going from $210 to $99 then $50). I bet they (Nokia/Microsoft) haven't made any money on this cheapest Lumia 520. WP is not ready to go lower price point unless you are willing to produce it for $150 and sell it for $50 or less. Neither Nokia nor Microsoft are running their companies for charities so they do what they believe will make money for them.

This is a BIG maybe. Maybe Nokia poked into Microsoft's nose with this X phone before hanging their tools under Nokia's hangers. Not all Nokia employees were super happy with Microsoft booting their pride. I still wonder why Microsoft didn't move fast? What stopped them hiring loads of engineers in a short span and make WP8 software competitive. I mean, they are biggest tech company, they have money, they couldn't find capable engineers to develop for WP?

Doesn't matter if it backfires because Nokia hardware division is being sold to Microsoft. Microsoft in the other hand will have to scrap this immediately before it catches any traction because this goes against everything MS has been trying to accomplish.

Oh, and here is the new CEO of Microsoft, the one and only Mr EvoLuTioNHeaVy -- but where is Mr Satya Nadal, mate? ;)

Hey it's my good friend Dazzi. The man with no opinion but has plenty of stupid remarks which are an obvious attempt for attention.

Hey, did you get a life yet? ;)

EvoLuTioNHeaVy -- yeah okay mate, I'm an attention seeker now, by supposedly making stupid remarks -- when I'm asking valid question, unlike you! Also, says the guy who thinks he is the CEO of Microsoft quote: "Microsoft in the other hand will have to scrap this immediately before it catches traction because this goes against everything MS has been trying to accomplish". And you have the cheek to say I make stupid comments? So my question to you is, how does this go against what Microsoft have been trying to accomplish? I mean, it's not like Microsoft apps aren't on other platforms. To me, Microsoft are about making money and this 'may' be also another revenue stream or to bolster users -- even if you like it or not. End of the day, none of us know the truth. All we can do is 'speculate'. However, unlike you who is trying to 'suggest' their comments are fact..... You sir are butt-hurt, plain and simple :(

Not once did I claim to be Microsoft's CEO (why am I even clarifying this?) and the post you are referencing was my personal opinion on the future of Microsoft. Never did I imagine a simpleton as yourself needed a disclaimer regarding my non affiliation with Microsoft after every post and if your only contribution to the comment section is to attack & make stupid comments then yes... "You are seeking for attention".

I don't even care that you attacked me & others for sharing our opinion but the thing that does annoy me is that you don't express why you disagree with our point of view. You didn't do this just once but several times so do me a favor, lay off these nuts mate! ;)

I attacked who? Wow because I had a different opinion? Yet you are the one throwing your teddies out your pram, by calling me a simpleton? Also, attention seeking for trying to discuss the topic? If that is your way of interpreting things, then so be it.... Conversation terminated MATE™...... Ha ha ha

Why don't you scroll down 15 comments, and you will see what my opinion is. And you will see that I agree with everything the Author has written! Therefore, my opinion is, I think the Nokia X is a good idea... Is that clear enough for you to understand mate™❓ha ha ha

I don't need to search for your opinion because frankly you are not that interesting however in this thread alone you've stated your opinion once and that's because I called you out on it.

We disagree and that's a good thing. I'm going to stop replying now...

Wow -- you called me out on what? Also, you don't want to search out my comment because you know, you will look like a fool mate. Especially, when you see my opinion was made first, before any of my comments made to others. Therefore, this suggests that I was trying to have a discussion with others... In regards to your comment that I'm not that interesting. I couldn't give two hoots about some random "bitter" stranger in the internet calling me names. However, I do find it ironic that, although you think that about me, you have been replying to my comments for over 12 hours. And now that you have realised I've provided logical replies, to every one of your comments for all those hours. It is now, you decide you are going to stop replying! That is pretty childish mate... You sir get the award for the most "bitter" person on the Internet. May I bid you farewell. :)

has anyone taught this can run WP later on, has everybody forgotten that "existing" android devices will be able to run WP with the recycle your device program (something like that), who knows, maybe soon you will be able to flash WP on an android device.

That's the only way I can see this working is if it comes WITH android only to later have microsoft then decide to completely change it up and flash wIndows phone to it.

It doesn't help Microsoft or WP at all.

*Microsoft services are already available on Android.

*It may look like a kludgey version of WP, but it already will come with a better app library.  Example:  plants vs Zombies 2 is already available for the Nokia X series, while there is no sign of a WP version in site.

*Customers coming off this phone will most likely go with Android anyways- as they usually spend less per app than WP customers, and especially won't like having to pay for apps that are free on Android but cost money on WP.  They can just stick with Android when time to upgrade and either get free apps faster, or sideload them (pirate).

*It shows that Nokia doesn't have faith in WP's ability to target the developing markets.  All of these X phones share similar or better specs than the 520, yet priced less.  So it leaves the question of WP just too expensive for Nokia to price their phones the way they want to, or does Android offer greater flexibility?

Exactly.The biggest problem will be that when they see that WP has even lesser no. of apps than their Nokia X, they will switch to Android.

I don't know why, but I actually really like the look of this phone. The UI is nothing like the Android most people expect (whilst it is still android under the hood). If this phone is priced well, I can really see it taking off. 

At the expense of likely becoming way more popular than Lumias which does not make for good PR if a Nokia Android phone beats out their own Nokia Line which is 2-3 years old.

That's what you are scared off? I thought this phone doesn't even have a chance due to lame design, 3MP camera, and lagdroid running it?

I've been saying this all day -- good article from an author who clearly has more business sense, than many others on here. ☑

Micah that's rather vague comment -- what are you not seeing? Is it about me saying a good article or the author has more business sense? Or neither? ;)

Not really... Lumias, and Windows Phones can't be used in the same sentence as cheap... There's a fine line between cheap and affordable... Only Android devices has the luxury of the former...

Renan -- is this reply to me? If so, your comment makes no sense mate. So the L520 isn't a cheap phone? Nevertheless, lets go by your logic and lets say "Lumias, and Windows Phones can't be used in the same sentence as cheap". Therefore, wouldn't you agree, it makes sense manufacturing the Nokia X, if Lumias are not cheap?

Quality isn't sacrificed that much on a Lumia 520... So it's just an affordable Lumia/Windows Phone... Since you do get what you pay for... On the other hand, quality is already bad on high-end Androids, so imagine the cheap quality the low-end devices has... Android devices always has this excuse of using high-end hardware... Problem is, the software is poorly made... So, they've been using the same excuse with all the devices that packs the hardware that's on par with Lumias... As long as Android is in beta (yes, it still is with all the same problems), it'll always be the "cheap" mobile OS...

So what you're basically saying is the "build" quality of the L520 makes it an "affordable" phone.

Whereas, the quality of Android OS is what makes it cheap?

Thanks for clearing up your definition of cheap -- meaning inexpensive and of poor quality Android OS...... I wished you'd of said that in the first place mate.

Nevertheless, it still seems you may have jumped to conclusions, regarding how bad, the Nokia X will be, based on high-end Androids, with loads of bloat ware? Although, nobody knows exactly what Nokia has done with Android on the Nokia X...

I wil play your comment card - your statement is vague and doesn't make sense.

What is good about the article that isn't a re-hash of the last 100 articles?  Nobody cares about upselling to the next device ESPECIALLY when you have two OS's on the same phone company.  That is called fragmentation and personally MS/Nokia should strongly get the apps and fix their very weak feature OS and care less about trying to fight w/ Samsung and Google at the moment.  Nokia is selling to the bottom of the price chain which means that these same customers will either keep the phone for a while or when they do upgrade, they are not doing so for the same phone company with a different OS.  You have to remember that the bottom of the phone chain while very large, really isn't the consumer base made out to be a golden nugget.  These are financially strapped consumers with little room for phones, app purchases and flexible spending habits.  They are outside of the US customers which means they are buying the phone ouright and not subsided costs (US customers).  This doesn't make sense, not one bit MATE.

Operand --Eh? WTF are you going on about with your long arse comment? You jumping in on something that has been cleared up -- nearly a hour ago -- between me and Micah in regards to vague comments. Sorry MATE™ you're late to the party.....

P.s. thanks for giving an opinion for everyone here on WPC, quote: "Nobody cares about upselling [whatever that means] to the next device ESPECIALLY when you have two OS's on the same phone company [??]". The other shite -- based on assumption -- you spluttered, you need to tell Microsoft and Nokia. Or anyone else who is interested or understands MATE™ ©

Wow I've got a stalker who likes cussing me. Okay I'll answer the question shall I? Right, the author is what some would call a professional in regards of business and investments, yes? So although there as been loads of articles about the Nokia X, I found the article good because it rubber stamped, what I was 'thinking', was good business sense. Is that better for you EvoLuTioNHeaVy? ........ It's so easy being a keyboard warrior isn't it mate, calling people nasty names? Ha ha ha

P.s he didn't only ask a question, where I come from writing in caps is shouting. So you think I'm going to just be a polite idiot and answer his question? Exactly no I'm not mate! But just for you I have answered his question, to stop you bitching. ;)

Definitely mate, and the only people who are pissed, are the ones who clearly don't understand business, or the ones who said this would never happen -- this is like a game of chess, big moves. People need to get over it ⛔

Don't see how this benefits Microsoft. Eventually Microsoft will take over Nokia hardware and Microsoft will have another phone to compete with.

EvoLuTioNHeaVy, you stated: "...Eventually Microsoft will take over Nokia hardware and Microsoft will have another phone to compete with"? Okay mate, I didn't know it was possible to compete with yourself. Unless you're jerking off? lol

Yes Dazzi I did. Microsoft's goal is to grow the market share on windows phone and having another android phone in the market especially a Microsoft/Android phone is counterproductive. Using the word "competing" was & is appropriate even if the competition is within Microsoft.

This is Android without google. Every Nokia X sold kills 1 google's trojan horse.

If you think WP in the nearest future would not be able compete application-wise with phones like this, it is better for MS to lay on the ground and die quietly.

Exactly Viktar -- I think Microsoft know this as well. It seems Microsoft/Nokia are testing the water with this device, to see how it affects low-end Androids. Only time will tell mate ;)

Microsoft's future is not set in stone however this is more of Nokia's idea than Microsoft. I would think Microsoft would consider the idea of selling this type of phone but ultimately vote against it since this is not their oS.

You can talk about business sense all you want. But this is a low specced android phone which will be laggy and generally provide a poor user experience. If someone wants to buy an android phone, why wouldn't they buy another shitty under $100 android phone that has all 700,000 Google Play apps? Why would anyone buy this? Who knows what kind of support this will get in the future. The whole point of the 500 series is that you get a great fluid UI at the cheap Android pricepoints. This is how you differentiate! Not by selling an inferior android phone that has all the problems of android as well as the lack of an app store.

Moiz -- let me get this right, you're whole argument is based on the assumption that the Nokia X will be "laggy and provide a poor experience". Also, like anyone is going to use 700,000 apps. Way to go mate, way to go -- I salute you. pmsl

Aren't these phones better than first gen Windows Phones? How does this make sense? I'm still not seeing the plan. So there won't be a life cycle to these phones? There won't be a better NokX phone next year? It can't be a one off because that wouldn't justify the forked effort or store. This is a whole new line of Nokias, any way you slice it.

NIST -- open your eyes and realise lol. Seriously though mate, didn't you stop and think what Microsoft/Nokia were going to do with the Asha line? This is a 'jack move', trust me mate! ;)

I guess. I'll wait and see, I really don't know why I even care. Its not like its my company or anything or that I'm even in the market for this bastard child of a phone. I'm just not seeing how this realistically trasitions into anything Windows Phone.
We cried about fracturing in Gen one, mercy you could get more fractured than this.

That's better NIST -- when I'm ever on here you're always cheerful. Glad to see you back to your old self. Like you said all we can do is wait and see mate ;)

Sorry, but it makes very little sense. First, these devices are about the same price point as Lumia 520. So where exactly are you moving up from? Put another way, given the superior Lumia experience, why would anyone purposely start with a lesser phone at the same price point? That defies consumer thinking.

Second, Belfiore's announcement around rejiggering the chassis spec will allow more entrants to the WP market, more easily and at a lower cost, which will continue to drive down consumer price of WP phones. In that light it makes even less sense.

Finally, how does a weird, forked AOSP developer and app experience help the "converged" MSFT story around Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1? It doesn't - it only mucks it up. X will end up being a red-headed stepchild at best. And we're presuming that - not unlike they did with Amazon - Google doesn't go to semi-extreme lengths to put a bullet in this.

I think it may makes a lot of sense. Especially, for people in countries like Africa, who need dual sim phones, due to many borders. And who also want Nokia quality. Furthermore, what do you mean "presuming that Google doesn't go to semi-extreme lengths to put a bullet in this". Could you please explain your reasoning for such an assumption?

...For good and bad.  This isn't the 90's technology where you mess up and move onto the next OS (95/98XP).  Loyalty in Technology is nearly gone except for several 65 year old Apple enthusiats.  Failures cost more not only to sales but customers who will never go back to your product. 

Operand -- Who the hell said it was the 90's. Also, I see plenty of loyalty in technology -- just ask 16-65 year old Apple enthusiasts who frigging queue up for weeks for new devices..... Here mate™, what are you smoking?

Then he lied too.

"But this move by Nokia will give potential customers of the Nokia X and X+, and the bigger Nokia XL most of the benefits of the app selection on Android"

That's not true. Nokia X phones will not have access to Play store.

WPcentral please stop writing these articles like your audience is a herd of sheep. Show some respect to all the WP fans visiting this site because they in the first place already have made a thoughtfull and active choice to not just pick the first Android phone in the store.

If the purpose of the Nokia X series is to lure customers up the Lumias, then that would be a lame excuse... If the 520 isn't enough then better stick with the Asha series... It's finally reached a point where we have no "sole" Windows Phone manufacturer (at the moment) that hasn't been tainted by Android...

I'm going to voice my opinion because it matters and others want to hear it.

Ha jk. Nokia can do what ever they want, we just want high quality WPs roll out from the Microsoft Nokia fusion.

If anyone see news on Nokia X, he will think that MS finally gives up WP as they usually did for their unpopular product like Zune HD or Kin.

Developers will think that it is too risk to develop or keep developing WP apps because MS could dump WP's developers all of sudden as they usually did before.

This could make sense now, let's hope that in April at BUILD with 8.1 they'll announce some high specs devices -not only Nokia- then it will be clear that "X" is the low-end series for those who can't yet afford a Lumia, so WP isn't going anywhere.

I said it this morning google is gonna laugh at Microsoft. And people still trust Elop, yes it will help windows phone go directly shitland.

Oh okay -- maybe you could give them directions to shitland, seen as you're the only person who knows the location? ;)

Actually it can't be far cause there's a river about 3 miles where I live people call it el Rio de mierda or shitty river im guessing if we follow the river we will find the shitland...

One thing is to discuss if those new phones will impact WP. The other thing is to praise them and keep writing technical details like we care!

Stop this nonsense WPCentral!

Makes perfect sense to me. All these people will go for the Android apps but make accounts with Microsoft and use their services along with Nokia's. If it was me and I'd used these services for a couple of years, I'd want to stay with them. Sure the apps might not be quite as good on WP compared to Android right now but I think in a couple of years time it won't be that noticeable. 

When all these people upgrade in a year or twos time they will look to Lumia's to give them the services they require along with an even slicker experience than they had with the X series. Only difference being they will get much better features and hardware along with all the apps they require. 

Please, please, PLEASE, tell us what these magical Microsoft services are that couldn't entice users with a pure WP experience yet this crud will?

Yes, I too have that question. Personally, if I had that phone, I wouldn't even look at outlook.com & straightaway sign in to gmail. I know many others will.

First off I said it's all down to the apps. Most stores won't even promote WP as they don't take it seriously and the fact is there are far more Android apps than WP. This means people want those apps. This is basically MS/Nokia giving the boot to Google who have no control over this and getting people locked into MS services. 

I can understand that you want everything to be about WP as that's why you're here but you can't disregard something just because you don't like it. I see it as a very clever idea.

Ronty: Are you an Android user and also Gmail user as your primary? If so then yeah you would, but just like WP this will prompt you to sign in with a MS account. If this is your first smartphone you'd possibly not have an account at all. I used Hotmail for years as it was the first email I created. I stil use it to this day. And this is long before I became a WP user. Same thing can happen with these devices.

You know what? I am actually going to give the XL a shot when it comes to Australia. I have a 1520 already (I know, I know) but for such a low price, I want to see what Nokia has done with this phone. It seems like a really interesting collaboration of ideas. 

 

For those who are trolling and saying this is an awful article, the door is this way >>>

As I said in an earlier comment, this phone smashes the Asha out of the water, if it is to be the Asha's direct replacement. 

Think about it: if Nokia can put together a forked Android UI and make it super buttery smooth, which it looks like they have, consumers who switch from the X series to WP will be wowed. And by the time they make the switch, WP 8.1 will be well and truly in full swing, allowing the X series to be a smooth transition for Android users (who make up most of the smartphone marketshare, might I add) to Windows Phone 8.1.

It's all falling in to place guys - get the big picture and you'll understand this is a GREAT move from Nokia.

I'm going to get one as well (1520 user too) just to see how it is. Will likely do a review of it. Interesting bit of kit and I think it's a great move by MS/Nokia.

I cannot express strongly enough how much I disagree with this.  This does NOTHING to help Windows Phone, and it only MIGHT do something for Microsoft.  There's no way I believe that most who buy an Android phone get it without the consideration that they are also getting the Google ecosystem with it.  It's laughable to hope that people will warm up to these devices when they are "Android-Lite", not having the full breadth of Google's empire behind them.  In fact, I'm convinced that what will happen is the ignorant folk who DO buy one of these devices will constantly run up against the "but where's Google Play, where's all the Google STUFF?" wall and toss them for the next best full-blown Android device.  The will NOT be thinking, "wow, I really love these Nokia HERE and Microsoft services, maybe they'd be even better on a Windows Phone".  To think otherwise is pure fantasy.  They will want the OS and the system that they feel belongs WITH that OS.  They'll be looking for better Android devices, not better Windows Phones.  Mark my words.

You've missed the point completely my friend.

 

This series of phone is targeted DIRECTLY at parts of the world where the market is dominated by low-end, budget handsets (EG. some areas of India/US/Europe and those who simply cannot afford a high end smartphone). Not everyone has the liberty of just going "Oh this phone's crap, i'll just buy a Galaxy S5". How about mature age smartphone users who aren't as technologically minded, and who need a good introduction to smartphones?

This device is going to run smoothly, run well and not be bogged down by Google or Samsung bloatware. It's an Android phone that will just work, and work well.

Hope this clarifies.

Kyriacou -- your comment is spot on mate, some people are only viewing this through their own eyes... By the way is your user name, a misspelling of a Caribbean island near Grenada?

woah, woah, woah. Everybody understands the need for low end smartphones.  The problem is that everybody agreeing to see this as a positive spins it as a gateway phone.  Your statement and thought implies these are not customers who are going to re-up to the next best or next affordable phone. These are one and done customers for the most part.  Even the US phone companies understand this b/c the need to keep up with Android/iPhone customers looking to upgrade very 12-18 months.

You don't sell a car to a customer that upgrades every 10-15 years, you sell to the 2-3 year guy who comes back after a lease or tired of his vanilla Mustang because his other friend who has a very long mullet is driving a Mustang GT500.

Is this Android Central? I mean it's almost as if I'm reading paid advertisements for Nokia and Android. This is a huge mistake. The last 3 months have been a disaster as far as how MS has handled their "growing" platform. First, let's sabotage all our momentum by not releasing any new phones during a very important holiday season. Then we will let our only partner release multiple phones for emerging markets that run our competition's OS even though we already have 1 that is priced right. Complete mishandling of everything lately. It's embarrassing.
In the end these phones will count towards Android market share. So when the next report comes out showing Android growing even more,the general public will hear what they've been hearing. Android sells the most, it must be the best.

I was wondering something tho. Wasn't there a contract between Nokia and MS that stated Nokia could not make another OS phone through the end of 2014? I thought that was the case.

Tell them ny friend, we are past the 2nd month of this crucial year for Microsoft platform. And both Windows 8 and Windows phone have been in complete flux with all these new CEO talk and now these devices. Just wow. I really don't want to see those 1st quarters numbers for mobile devices. Its quite embarrassing to see how they destroy their momentum

If anything they should have taken Windows Phone 7.8 because that can run on even lower specs, have Microsoft give them a deal of no licensing fee and really low hardware requirements since they're going to be theirs soon anyways. This way they can run even lower specs, have the same UI, and still benefit from the Microsoft Store apps. How does that work? I believe its pretty say to have a WP7 app ported to WP8, after all that's where the confusion came from for WP7 devices to be updated to 8, with execs saying all WP7 apps will work on 8 (assuming devs bothered to do simple updates). That way any dev who tries to develop for these low end devices would be able to get their app on WP8. That makes more sense to me, assuming Nokia really wanted to hit bottom line hardware. It would kept UI pretty darn consistent, and incentivize moving to WP8 stronger; all the apps you would have would be on WP8. Or just make the hardware requirements lower for WP8, lol.

Well Microsoft must have been in on this, how else would Nokia be able to "copy" the Windows Phone design to Android, without fearing a lawsuit?

Its not a live tile, its just a big square. They still haven't realized that people don't like the giant tile concept. They prefer little icons. The look and feel of something that it is not doesn't make sense. Its like molding a cake into a loaf and calling it a meatloaf, because it vaguely looks like one.

I never mentioned livetiles :) I just said the design. Apple won a lawsuit over Samsung because their phone looked like the iPhone, but it wasn't an iPhone :)

People, Microsoft has allowed Nokia this last move for these things: 1. Push to the rest of mobile makers to build a Cheap windows phone with theirs own brands because Nokia is bitting their cake. 2. Show to the mobile makers that with the same hardware they would build a cheap windows phone, because Nokia did it. 3. To f...k Google, jejejeje.

I still don't see it... They should continue attacking the low end market by making the Lumia 525 more available and as cheap as the Lumia 520, so app compatibility won't be issue.

Sure, some similarities to Windows Phone are there, but this still seems like a gateway to Android rather than Windows Phone (especially since any Android apps can't follow you to Windows Phone :/).

I hope to be proven wrong, I really do, but this honestly seems like an abomination... They should be focusing their resources on optimizing, perfecting and cheapening low end Windows Phone, to make it a true knock out against low end Androids. Then people would almost definitely stick with Windows Phone, simply because it'd be familiar and the easiest option when upgrade time comes.

So I feel this device is an abomination, and hope Microsoft kills it quickly when they take over. Again, I hope to be proven wrong, but for now: I was the phone line dead.

Used to support Elop, but he couldn't have possibly handled this year worse, especially the last couple months.  Releasing 2 niche phones and no flagship for the holidays, and now this.  Developing this junk, as well as, porting all of their HERE software to android is one big F'n waste of time...I'm sure I'm not the only one this move has alienated.

Snapdragon 800 is a niche device. 801, 805, 810 are coming Q1 14 and they are better for hi-end phones.

It can be the case that WP8.1 is coming later then expected, so as the 8.1 based dual-sim and onscreen-buttoned phones

If you saw Lumia 630 leaked photo, it has no hardware buttons. They showed it as an exuse for not showing anything on MWC.

This is a bad idea. This grows the android market share. Nokia should have just release an even cheaper Lumia device.

Okay, do a survey.

Your everyday smartphone user - Ask them how much they know about Android, and then ask how much they know about Windows Phone.

Exactly.

It's the dire reality, but Windows Phone still, on the grand scheme of things, is a niche OS. I know this having been a WP user since WP7, that people still don't know much about it.

Android holds the highest percentage of market share. This means this phone targets the biggest demographic...

How is no one understanding this?

Nokia no longer have a big name for themselves in Smartphones..

This a seriously great way of getting their name back out there and showing they still make quality phones.

Check all the popular tech blogs. The reveal of this phone is making significant waves...

What exactly is sexy about this phone? It looks like your basic PAYG $25 phone you'd find in a plastic blister pack at Walmart.

Amusing that this is like the 5th article posted on WPcentral that is trying to justify Nokia's decision to release an Android device as somehow benefiting Windows Phone. It doesn't and it won't. If your ultimate goal is to convince people to buy a Windows Phone, the better strategy is to convince them to buy a Windows Phone, not to convince them to buy an Android and then later on convince them to buy a Windows Phone. That's the dumbest strategy I've ever heard.

I dont get it, why you guys arguing about this phone here anyway? You loose nothing at all. let it be, at the end it's they choise what to make what not. I still love Nokia))
 

Can we stop pretending that this makes sense?  It makes NO sense.  You can put Windows Phone on a Nokia X right NOW.  It's the same spec as the HTC 8S.  If for some magical reason it's cheaper to make a Nokia X then put Windows phone on it.  Let's stop pretending that Nokia X targets the low end maket like Asha does.  If it did I would have no problem with it.

Note that Windows Phone 8.1 will address many of the lower end requirements - http://www.engadget.com/2014/02/23/microsoft-windows-phone-8-1-will-come-with-more-hardware-suppor/

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