Nokia’s shrewd move with the Nokia X undermines Google, bolsters Microsoft

Barcelona – Early this morning, Nokia held their highly anticipated press conference here at Mobile World Congress 2014. Anticipated is the word used because while two new and admirable low-end entry phones were introduced – the Asha 230 and Nokia 220 – all eyes were focused on ‘X’.

Yes, Nokia has gone Android. But if you think that’s all there is to the story, you may be missing the point. We sat down with Jo Harlow, Executive Vice President, Smart Devices at Nokia, for some answers to our eager questions.

If you watched the live stream of Nokia’s presentation on the Nokia X, X+ and XL devices, you may have noticed that their message was crafted perfectly. Yes, the words ‘Android’ and ‘Google’ were used, but Stephen Elop was purposeful in focusing on Microsoft’s services and Nokia’s Lumia line. It was as if they knew that one wrong word could be misconstrued as “Nokia has doubts about Windows Phone” or that this new device series was an admission of failure.

It’s not though. In fact, the Nokia X and what it represents, is an extremely bold and shrewd move. To wit, Nokia is the first and only major phone manufacturer to spurn Google’s Open Handset Alliance (OHA), instead going rogue with the open-sourced Android. It’s kind of a big deal as once you leave the OHA, you don’t get back in. You also lose all of Google’s services. That’s okay though as Nokia and Microsoft have enough of their own services to make up for it. At least, that’s the plan.

“This isn’t just about price”

Windows Phone users though have one question: With the Lumia 520, why does Nokia have to release an Android phone? Is the cost difference that great when the Lumia 520 can often be found under $80?

According to Harlow, the answer is much more… devious. We mean that in a good way, as Nokia have a clear strategy to lure low-cost Android customers onto the Lumia X series. Sure, keeping the price below that of the Lumia line is a goal, but it’s not the driving reason behind the X series. It’s simply to go after a specific market. Owners of dumbphones, Symbian, low-cost Android, etc. are all the target demographic.

Think of the ‘X’ as a transition device to jump from Android to Windows Phone, minus the jarring experience. It’s also, as Harlow notes, a “reaction to the marketplace”, which has changed rapidly in 2013.

By wooing customers with low-cost Android devices to the Lumia X, Nokia hopes that the phone will serve as a gateway to the Lumia line of Windows Phones. That’s their exact intent. You start off with a good Nokia X experience, you finish up with a Lumia one. There’s a specific reason why Nokia made the X look like Lumia, even down to the Tiles that can change sizes and be moved around.

If there was ever a Trojan horse at Nokia, it would be the Nokia X. It runs open source Android 4.1, spurns all of Google’s APIs, and introduces potentially millions to Microsoft’s services. All in the guise of a low-cost Android device. You want a more powerful phone? Here’s a Lumia and look, it has a similar user experience.

It should be clear that Nokia making the Nokia X is not about embracing Android. It’s not about losing faith in Windows Phone. Heck, it’s not even about price (Windows Phone, with new support for the Snapdragon 200 and 400 series will guarantee that).

No, this is about putting a Nokia Lumia in the disguise of Android. It sneaks across the enemy lines and delivers most of the goods in a brave effort to lure deserters.

What’s in a name?

The name ‘X’ was certainly chosen for specific reasons. One of those it being a bit more ‘hip’ for the younger crowd. You have to admit, ‘Nokia X’ does have a ring to it. But the irony is not lost on us seeing a green X phone that is not focused on Xbox, nor from Microsoft.

Will Microsoft kill off X? And what about the future of its name? At this point, you can’t help but wonder if Microsoft did not all but sign off on the strategy. If they didn’t, Nokia sure seemed to appease them. Heck, Skype was even present on stage boasting about the opportunity. And because ‘X’ can’t be trademarked – it’s too generic – transferring the property Microsoft along with Lumia and Asha has no legal work.

That means that yes, the Nokia X will become a Microsoft property and no, we don’t expect them to kill off this project (though they of course could, once they take the reins).

Why buy a Nokia X over a standard Android phone?

Nokia is clearly banking on their name and reputation with the Nokia X. In fairness, the brand Nokia does mean a lot in countries like India and other emerging markets. Combined with the durability of their devices, bright colors and unique UI elements (like Fast Track), Nokia thinks that their differentiated experience will be leaps and bounds better than your run of the mill Android phone.

Indeed, playing with the Nokia X and you would think it was just another Lumia variant. Throw in brand loyalty, some free Skype minutes and access to multiple Android stores (Nokia claims that 75% of all Android apps will run on it without modification) and you have the makings of an interesting device. If the Lumia 520 can sell well running Windows Phone, why not something similar that runs Android apps?

Bringing it all together

While many in Western markets won’t make too much of the Nokia X, as a long-term strategy it’s extremely interesting. It’s audacious. It’s clever. And Nokia worded things just right so as to keep the detractors off kilter during the Q&A period this morning. The Lumia line is and will be Nokia’s primary smartphone platform. No, there won’t be a ‘flagship’ Nokia X device with high end specs.

This is a purposeful move to go after Android users, not to appease them, but to convert them. Will it pay off in the long run? It’s too early to tell, but the ‘next billion users’ are often cited as the only real growth market in mobile these days, and Nokia seems to be betting on that idea.

The Nokia X, a Windows Phone in disguise.


Reader comments

Nokia’s shrewd move with the Nokia X undermines Google, bolsters Microsoft



From the sounds of it, though, the device doesn't really run that smoothly (not surprising: it is an Android, after all, and Android phones tend to run like crap). I don't think the gateway strategy is a sound one. Sure, it's got Nokia and Microsoft services on it, but it's still an Android and I don't get the logic behind: "Let's first convince people to buy our stripped down Android instead of a regular Android and, from there, we'll convince them to get a Lumia!" Having to convince a customer twice is not as easy as convincing them once. They'd have been wiser going even cheaper on Windows Phone 8 handsets or re-launching Windows Phone 7 handsets as a stepping stone to Windows Phone 8.

The lumia 520 runs smoother, wich will make nokia x buyer jump the wp wagon later when they see the need of more smoother user experience.

Rofl. No. Just no. When people buy a phone/platform: Android Windows (let's be honest, WP), Motorola, Apple, Nokia, etc. and the first thing they experience is lag, they'll immediately chose a different platform/operating system the next chance they get, in this case anything but Nokia and WP. They should have just made these phones semi-decent with WP skin and shown what WP can do in addition to them.

the first thing they experience is lag, they'll immediately chose a different platform/operating system the next chance they get


The number of low cost Android phones in the market pretty soundly disproves this theory of yours.  I will admit that most powerusers who buy high end phones would probably change phones if there is a lot of lag, but they would also understand that they can't expect amazing performance from a low end Android phone...

I think you are giving too much credit to the average uninformed consumer being educated by the average uninformed salesperson. Unless things change in a HUGE way, I will not be surprised if that uninformed salesperson bashes Nokia X, followed up by bashing Lumia. Next thing you know, uninformed consumer has been indoctrinated into an iDroid model. But stranger things have happened, and maybe X really will become a gateway OS to Windows Phone.

Well, I hope WP gains more users, but look at how stock market is responding. Nokia & scroogle up and Microsoft down. It's a sad day for WP and me!

Well that depends on the market. In many other countries they don't do that plus even if they did by costs they wouldn't follow anyway.

ZeeLobby, you're spot on...potential users will simply think all wp phones under perform and it doesn't matter how many apps are in the app store. It will  simply leave a bad taste in people mouths. If they were to eventally know that this is android OS skinned to look like wp, it might even move user away from Android and on to Apple, allowing them to begin regaining market share....This could be bad in more ways than one unless WP8.1 has a lot more than what's been leaked, personally, the windows 8.1 start screen interface, all of the leaked features, cortana, and a heck of a lot of advertising differentiating itself from this.

I'll paint you a different picture of why they will NEVER pick a lumia and WP: lack of apps. It's like you buy a cheap car but then when you're moving up in the game (which let's face it, that is not the way the world works in 3rd world countries) you'll pick the inferior more expensive car. No, you'll just get a samsung galaxy with all your apps and skip WP.

besides, if you're poor and this is all you can buy, chances are this is all you're going to buy tomorrow. It's not like owning an X makes you break out of poverty and suddently there will be a huge wave of upwards mobility and they'll all upgrade to WP.

this strategy has to be the dumbest one I've seen yet from nokia.

You can't say that Daniel, you'll undermine all the fanboy talking points about Android. 

Android HAS to be laggy and somehow you'll get malware on contact, or else, well, who the hell knows. Fanboy talking points that if you repeat often enough, they come true. 

If you were refering to OMG55, I own 5 WP's, 2 iphones (3gs, 4s), and 2 Androids and each have there pros & cons. I'm assuming everyone here who is speaking of laggyness is getting it from the tech site reviewer as none of use here has on in hand to know personally how either performs. I have read several tech sites that have said they lag and under perform. From their reviews and what it appears Nokia/MS are trying to accomplish, all I'm saying is that it could backfire and potentially cause users to migrate away from both Android & WP in favor of Apple; I and the IT Manager for over 325+ people and I've seen first hand how people behave and switch platforms when a device doesn't function like they thing it should. Most dont want to try an higher-end unit of the same OS, they want something completely different. I will also go out on a limb and say both Nokia and Microsoft should have used the money it cost them to develop/manufacture these devices and just paid developer for apps...its the main compliant on wp yet the spend money on this???

Im sure its not just fanboy perception about android lag. I have used colleagues S duos and another's 520, the 520 is miles ahead in os smoothness, app load times, graphic processing etc.. High end phones are obviously lag free but low end androids are not.

I can attest to this. Just this weekend, one of my co-workers got a low end Samsung that was cheap on T-mobiles plans. Here son got it for her. She was previously using an iphone 4s. It took her a day to realize how crappy the phone was. When she brought it to me, all I could do was tell her to get a better phone. Samsung sells a bunch of these crappy low end android devices. If Nokia could make a slightly better one and pick up a bit of that market share, it will be worth it for them. 

...i read earlier somewhere that the x devices will actually run kitkat from the beginning... so i was kinda surprised it's said to be 4.1 here on wpc...(?)

...dont remember where i saw it tough... :/

My former Android HTC was also smooth and fluid... most of them are, out of the box... until You actually start installing apps on them. Android is just not able to scale well.

Political reasons for this phone aside, you should always try to give your customers as good a service as possible. Thus I feel them putting 4.1. on this phone instead of 4.4 which is tailored to lower spec handset was a mistake. Perhaps it seemed fluid to you Daniel, but other sites are reporting it is a bit choppy, they could have avoided that.

Agree with everything you wrote in the article however, well put and brave move Nokia.

Were talking about android here, put facebook, whatsapp and other background running apps and see what happens with the limited ram.

Yes, you completely did. Check out the forums to learn why just comparing RAM capacity is complete nonsense. The way RAM is used is very different on both OS'

Lol! So make a shitty forked up Android in hopes you switch to the smoother WP? But you've already given yourself a bad rep by then.

Agree. It's easier to convert someone from a low-end Windows Phone device to a high-end Windows Phone device... than from a low-end Android device that looks like a Windows Phone device... to a Windows Phone device.

I'm doubtful this will work, but I suppose it's worth a try.

But you've made strides with the 520 in some of these countries. This "X" underscores the progress. Now with wp8.1, Nokia can go even cheaper with WP.

Not entirely. I am not one who is all out supporting this, but as stated above, the tact is to get people to buy into NOKIA, not Android. Yes, there is a chance that people MAY opt to go all out on an Android device as a step up, but it is also as likely they will opt for a more powerful Lumia with a more familiar UI and continued use of Nokia/MS core services.

If Nokia X will run 70% of Android Apps then when its time to jump to WP they won't because most of those apps probably won't be available. They are pa ing the road for these users to end up on Android phones.

By now there is a very small percentage of apps available on Android and iOS devices that are NOT available on WP, and many of those have equivalent apps on WP. Your argument that most of 70% of apps aren't available just doesn't hold water. BY\y the time someone buys the 'X' and finally decides to change phones, that small gap in apps will be even smaller.

Exactly, it's the whole reason Google went on their knees to Samsung last month, the Galaxy brand is stronger than the Android brand. People are buying Galaxies, not Android phones, Samsung could have switched to Tizen (or even WP) with their Galaxy phones and sold just as many millions as before.

So here Nokia are banking on their name, giving people something better than Asha and a teaser for future WP sales.

I am not one who is all out supporting this, but as stated above, the tact is to get people to buy into NOKIA, not Android.

Doesn't the NOKIA name go away as soon as the Microsoft deal is finished?

While i have my doubts, i think nokia will breed familiarity to wp. Moreover, this has potential to offer more apps (the strength of android) while getting Microsoft some users for its services. Overall worst case it doesn't convert people to w but it still helps Microsoft and hurts google. Its a no risk gamble. If it pays off brilliant, if not they loose pocket change.

Disagree. It's easier to convert someone from a low-end Android phone running Outlook.com and OneDrive to a hig-end WP phone... than from a low-end Android phone running Gmail and Google Drive to a WP phone.

There - fixed it for you.

your right.....let me add that people will want a better android not switch to windows, because they will have all the apps already from play store, why should they start over with windows phone store....they might have shot them self in the foot on this one.

But they won't have apps from the Play store (no Google services). In fact, MS could make this better if they somehow integrate the Nokia Android storefront with a MS account. They are supposed to be working on cross purchases anyway (between W8/RT/WP). Add the Android versions of apps, and it makes the move even easier and more appealing.

Buy a Lumia and all your corresponding apps are already bought! Buy a Google Experience Android device and...you get to buy them all again.

Nokia may have shot themselves in the foot, but Microsoft is a win win as the more adroid sales, the more royalties they collect either way.

There is logic behind this. It's actually so ingenious. I've never known a smartphone company to do a strategy like this yet it screams "obvious tactic" as if every smartphone maker should or has done it! I don't know what the software looks like yet, however, from what Daniel has been saying, it is designed to resemble Windows Phone... And I quote "even down to the Tiles that can change sizes and be moved around". It's like a bridge that is gapping the waters between the lands of Android and the lands of Windows Phone. It looks like an Android on the outside, but the software has been tailored to suit somebody who is looking for change (or maybe even not).

I have to say as well.. Why would you just up and say "Android phones tend to run like crap"? A bit of hate for an amazing OS, no? I admit, Android on low wend devices can be laggy and slow, but overall Android is fantastic.

Agreed. The Verge did a handson test of the Nokia X and they were not impressed, to say the least.

Using the X can be quite frustrating, however, as the entire interface is prone to slow response and a lot of lag. Closing or switching between apps on the X takes far longer than other, even entry-level, smartphones, and browsing the web will quickly test your patience. The third-party apps we saw on the X, such as Facebook, looked as they do on other Android smartphones, but they too suffered from poor performance. Nokia’s choice to combine the functions of home and back into the single back button is confusing, and it’s difficult to predict exactly where in the interface the button will take you when you press it.

They say it can be part of the forked Android version 4.1 which doesn't run great on low power devices. Instead they should have used 4.4 which is far more optimized for low power devices.

I'm afraid this whole 'X' project won't do Nokia any good in terms of reputation and marketshare. If someone buys one of these X devices and be frustrated about the experience and the lag, slow starting apps and internet browsing, they will walk away from Nokia instead of switching to a Lumia. Consumers are like that; "Oh this device sucks, so never a Nokia again!"
I think this is not a great move by Nokia and I really hope Microsoft will pull the plug on this one as soon as the purchase of Nokia is complete.

Agree with the fact they should have used 4.4 to give people as good an experience as possible and build stronger brand loyalty. But don't agree MS should shelve this, they just need to update the phones as quickly as possible. It's a good plan, just needs to be executed a little better.

Agreed, this is the dumbest move ever. Microsoft must kill this project if they know what's good for them!

You are right about having to convince them twice. This article is just crap. Nokia was desperate so they went Android. They know Windows Phone isn't selling so there are converting and using some awesome spin control. If it was really that easy to convert Android users by simply installing four Microsoft apps, more people would have switched in the past. People can install a launcher and the UI is completely different. Gone is the Lumia look.

Front news on biggest daily online newspaper in my country is "Nokia is switching to Android" and "Nokia to eat humble pie after 3 years with Microsoft"

All publicity is good publicity?

yep......you see wpcentral i think that is the point you are missing read user4545 comment.......wpcentral needs to change its artical to actually talk about what people whom dont even use window phone would think, because thats who microsoft are trying to switch right???....users that are using ios and android.....

I'm sorry but this is an utter dumb idea and I'm surprised wpcentral is really spinning this so positively. This makes no sense whatsoever from a transitional phone standpoint.

This move makes all the sense in the world, as WP is strugling. Many dont get the business side at all. Best selling WP is the 520, that has the lowest profit. The situation is not good and again, this is a great move.

Some people find transition from one "thing" to the next impossible or off-putting. Imagine the Nokia X as literally a stepping stone or a bridge to help people slowly make their way over to the best place ever: Windows Phone. It's a simple but very potentially effective idea.

Think of the other scenario - Would you find it easier to switch if you had all your data in Google drive and all your contacts in gmail? All your location bookmarks in Google Maps and all your music downloads in Google Music?

Either this, or the very real possibility that these phones will not sell at all and will instead cannibalize the Lumia 52x line.

micah dawson, your right this is not a good idea. people will get use to the android play store and not switch because the have all android apps.....this is just them trying to make market share going to android....and it works, you will find excutives trying to make a high end phone to compete with samsung and this will bring nokia money in the short run but will then turn out bad because samsung has much larger audience for android.....

Ye...in both case nokia will win,if Nokia X succed than it will be failure of Lumia but not nokia,and if NOKIA x didnot succed than Obviously Low end windows phone like L520 and L525 wins so in this side also nokia wins instead of failing......just like case between nokia Symbian and nokia lumia

So moving up from one of these devices means changing operating systems and losing all your apps. Seems they would just transition to a better android phone.

After using this forked version handset ,cant u think people will switch to some other android handset with google playstore access?god dont tell me that after this three handset nokia will introduce some real android handset with google playstore

the whole idea is just to get Nokia phones in the hands of people, u put that phone in the nokiA section in a store right next to the 520, which one would u pick? (obvious answer here), but oh! the 520 doesn't have all the apps, but if ur still walking away with a Nokia smartphone, then its a win for Microsoft and Nokia, and any loss for Google and Samsung is good for Windows Phone, plus, people will be looking for Nokia Phones in the end like Danny boy said, can't backfire in the way u guys say, cuz if u sit this phone next to the 520, its obvious there's a better phone that integrates even better with the Microsoft services, if it does backfire, its because people just plain dont want either phone... its all built off of the success of the 520...

apps on android need to be made compatible with most individual device, u know how android has really bad fragmentation, its not just because of OS versions, its because of device diversity also, so its not new for developers to update their apps for compatibility, then upload to the Nokias app store, its very similar to amazons app store, so they are bound to have majority of the android apps available, with plenty of other app store options, slideMe is a really good one, some people have their apps on there and not the play store... plus u can load apps from the apk file... hope that cleared things up

That's up to Microsoft and or Nokia if they want to allow apps on the store. Hope that clears things up for you.

wtf? u have a problem dude? I wasn't being sarcastic, I never said it wasn't up to them, u one of those people that just gotta have a word towards something? bitter MF'er

I'm also getting one. Then im gonna shit on a Tupperware for a week, put the phone in it and have it delivered to Stephen Elop.

Wait...uhm...shrewd move? So the move is to make emerging markets use more android than it has already and make them move to Wp?? Yeahhhhhh....shrewd indeed....good move by Google...i mean MSFT

Personally I think it's the same as when Apple would release a low-priced laptop running Windows with a Mac OS surface to get people to switch to more expensive Macs later. I also think it's pretty silly.

The main reasons that people have trouble switching to windows phone are app parity and ecosystem change (email, maps, cloud storage, etc). Rather than allow new phone purchasers (think a coworker or your parents) to get used to Google services and potentially lock them out of switching to WP, they now get them started with Microsoft and Nokia services.
This also prevents Google from getting any money from these users. If these become successful in these emerging markets, they could steal the largest percentage of android users from Google. They would be pulling a Google here by using Google's own OS against it to gain ecosystem locking.
With all the features coming to 8.1 it isn't hard to imagine a transition from the X family to the Lumia being very smooth in the near future.

It sounds so clever, but don't you think they will be gaining more android users than wp users in the end?
I mean how much of these nokia x users are actually gonna jump to wp?

Exactly. In general, if an android user wants to upgrade, he will look for another android, not a windows phone. He will obviously look for a better Nokia android and since there isn't one, he will look for Sony or htc or google nexus.

For fuck sake, it's still android.

I really really hope Microsoft kills this before this lays eggs of more Nokia Android. And kick elop in the butt for doing this..

I think you missed the entire point of the strategy and the story. Microsoft will not be looking to kill a project aimed at "the next billion users".  Too many times I see comments that generalize the market to what people know and see in their own country.  NEWSFLASH: About 2/3 of the world's population do not have the resources to purchase anything other than an entry level phone.

Their project for the next billions users should be called Windows. if they let this Android thing grow...Windows anything is dead...on tablets, PCs, other form factors and consoles.

This! Most people here just see it from their point of view. Hello, Lumia 520 is out for a long time already, if they want to upgrade to it they would have done so already. People still using feature phone because pricing is still an issue for them, and what stand between them and 520 is the cheap local android OEMs.

Nokia X is the answer to these low cost local android phone, grab the upgraders and convert them, or lose them and be bound into the Google ecosystem.

Guess the person labeled as a mold for microsoft thought he could pull off the biggest hiest of all time.....guess were he will be once the Nokia deal closes?

Answer: Unemployement line.....I hope he spends his 25million he gets from Nokia well

I don't believe they really care if they are going to sell more android or wp8 based phones, they run a business and businesses want profit and profit can be anything even if that is called Nokia X. More handsets sold, more Nokia market share, more profit... I think it sounds simple as that.

They've already sold their devices and services division to Microsoft so what profits are they working towards with this crap?

market share, whatever they gain on android, they will lose on windows phone 520....and at the end people will up grade to samsung...or htc so there goes your profit statement....if you want to take a poll just look at how many people on this comment section think this is a bad idea....this will give u an indcation as to how bad of an idea this is.....

By its UI, lack of use of google apps on googlle play, embedded wp apps, you wont look forward on android phones

I think we need to be looking at the facts and figures presented to Nokia executives before we judge the decision

Could just have a negative effect for example someone who's never used a windows phone might believe they are only as good as these poor android phones.

But they know they're not. The only thing this phone is for is getting android users used to the WP format. Nokia has a really big name out there these days, everyone that is into phones knows that Nokia has some of the best specs on the market. So when they buy this one they will blame android because its known for being sluggish..when the Nokia x user knows Nokia is amazing they will switch to a new one. Its all about them making people hate android. Most normal users dont see it has Nokia making a bad phone they see it as android making the bad phone. Hence they will switch to WP due to the familiar looking OS.

Wrong. Most normal users have trouble imagining what an OS even is. For most, it is not an Android phone. It is a Nokia phone. If they don't like it, they won't buy Nokia next time.

It runs ANDROID apps, how is that a gateway to Windows Phone? Does Nokia expect people to come from having access to almost a billion android apps to WP with its vastly smaller collection? They must think their intended users are dumb, as does WPcentral with this "explanation".

That's 750,000 apps, still much more than WP and undoubtedly most of those won't be on WP. Its a sticking point now for new WP users it will be the same for Nokia android users; they'll just go to android to get the same apps.

Read the article its forked so no play store. So please explain how this phone will have 750k apps.

Even half of android apps are still more than double of all WP apps. If 75% of all android apps, plus Microsoft and Nokia apps is not a good phone, then what is a WP?!

If people are limited to only using certain apps, blame Nokia. Do you think that in the future they will buy another Nokia device? No, they will say that they bought a Nokia device and it can't do what the others can.

Also, there is no Google Play store so it is neccesary to download apps to an SD card.

75% of Android apps. So it isn't a good Android phone either

I don't think that's right either. It COULD run about 75%, but does 75% of the android apps exist outside of Google Play? Certainly not on Yandex.

its not the same store. its a nokia store not google store.  It is a forked android device. think of it as just linux with a different name like all the other flavors there are out there.

A Windows phone in disguise? That thing looks like Android with Magazine UI.
these are not Trojan horse devices, these are white flag devices. The Android army just won! Get ready to get assimilated by Android Central.

My Galaxy S runs Microsoft services. it did from the end of 2010 up until last month when someone robbed my wife and took it from her.

All MSFT services are on Google Android. Nokia is the only one not bringing their services like MixRadio or Here maps to Android.


There is only one thing Microsoft should do with these devices after their adquisiton of Nokia is complete: KILL THESE DEVICES. PERIOD!

If the new CEO have any working brain cell he should DO IT by replacing these device bought by anyone with the equivalent Windows Phones ASAP even if they lose 7 billions dollars by doing it.

if they let this project grow that sends a huge message to this new computing world: WINDOWS IS NOT THE KING ANYMORE.

If Android is good enough for phones in emerging markets...then Android and ChromeOS are good enough for computing devices in this new computing world.

Get ready to be assimilated by Android Central. I'm sorry but you are really wrong to think this project should keep on growing under the MSFT umbrella. ok. Thanks

From a Windows Phone fellow in an emerging country.

Satya Narayana Nadella is an American business executive, engineer and the current chief executive officer of Microsoft. He was appointed CEO on 4 February 2014, succeeding Steve Ballmer. Previously, he was executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group, responsible for building and running the company's computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services.

I think he might appriciate those new devices :)

Its like having an "iPod" from Sony. You get the best of both worlds. And by the way many of you don't know but most of the time when i show my Lumia to anyone, they ask me if Nokia makes any android phone, because people believe in Nokia, here in India, & they think the only "smart OS" is android. So now they can have that share of pie.

The said the same thing about Lumia 520, looked what happened ? You'll be shocked how many people will buy this just because of the dead cheap price. 

That's because MS subsidized those phones to the point where they cost $50. While it does increase your user base, and make for good adoption numbers, your really not making any money.

All I see people doing is buying one of these and flashing another ROM on it to get full Android. I think if this happens enough MS may bin it. It's an experiment but how good of one is the question. Will it fail? Most likely.

I know most of us here have experience flashing roms and such, but the average user doesn't and they never tinker with their phones in that way.

Also this article says it is not about the money, it is! The Lumia 520 is sold here in Ecuador at ~220, but only in direct importers. In most carriers it is around 350... Smartphones prices here are insane. If these X phones are priced here at around 120-150, they will sell really well. It is hard to admit but it is the truth, also considering most of the tech "geeky" guys tend to have a hatred towards everything Microsoft, and they pass their opinions to their acquantances. I will be able to lure the common user to nokia since they only care if the phone has android, I mean they buy those horrendous galaxy Young just because it has android, and it costs around the same as the 520 here... it drives me crazy.

How many average users do you see buying one of these? If they have to choose between a true Android device or a forked one, which will they buy? A limited Android handset or a full version?

Also, I wouldn't say only geeks flash ROMs. Lots of people do it because it's not the difficult.

I'd say 90% of people, at least here, buy phones just for being "Android", regardless if it's a gingerbread or an unusable low end phone, all they care is for a handful of apps, hell blackberry still represents "status" here and people buy them, thankfully blackberry is becoming less and less popular,

And perhaps in develop countries lots of people flash Roms, but over here forget it, not even most of my college mates ever heard of flashing android, and I study computer science, hopefully I can get the hell out of here asap.

There is one thing that I did not think of before but I just realised. Most of the users here are saying that these X devices will get people used to WP UI, and therefore they will be more likely to upgrade to a high end Lumia.

Well the thing is, Most of people who buy a cheap phone are not looking to upgrade to a high end phone because they simply cannot afford it. The overall smartphone experience in countries like mine get better over time not because more people are buying higher end phones, but because the lower end become better, for example, An usual "upgrade" path is from an Galaxy Ace to a S3 mini. And I assume it happens fairly the same in all other developing countries.

What will happen with these devices is not users flocking to Lumias, all it will cause is them to be waiting for the next X series, then the best MS could do force is Wp on those, but surely lose a few amount of users. I think the best thing to do is to scrap this and go full Wp on the lower end, remember those who buy low end phones usually stay in low end phones, unless the overall economy of the country(salaries) go up, but that can take a lot of time.

What if the ROM doesn't run well on the device?
What about the fact that the target for this device are people who don't flash ROM's... (let's face it, that is already a VERY SMALL minority of phone buyers as it is.)
What about the fact that the target market for this device are people who don't even own PC's or tablets... so how will they flash a new ROM?

I think its not going to work...sorry but put a pathetic performance on hands of customers won't make them stay on your branch...i hope Microsoft kills this shit straight after the acquisition

What happened to the Demo models? lol

On point..; I get the feeling Microsoft is the ones behind these devices, perhaps they asked Nokia to do their bidding for them. There is no way they could have gotten Microsoft services ( like free Skype credits and Skydrive) without having Microsoft blessing and corporation. 

yes, they need to take advice from apple, apple doesnt even give simple programs like imovie to other platforms.....nokia want to feel the android market they made there choice and now they have to compete with samsung....good luck with that nokia...samsung makes hardware.....like really makes hardware

Difference is Microsoft and Apple make money differently , Apple is a hardware company with handful services, they make the bulk of their money from hardware. Since iPhone/iPad and to OSX to some extend have a comfortable marketshare they can choose to make apps only for their platforms. If they didn't have goodmarketshare of their products, they'd be force to support other platforms ( ie. iTunes) 


Microsoft on the other hand makes their money from services, they cannot just restrict it only their platforms since, they'll lose out if they do. They've always made apps for other platforms... heck they even made Office for Macs before windows. 

Microsoft kill this thing before it hurts WP momentum...



It doesn't matter what the INTENTIONS are, as I believe Mr. Rubino's write up here is actually accurate as to Nokia's plan.  It matters the perceptions.  I SO RESPECT a company that takes chances, and Nokia does that.  Usually love it and will defend it.  But @Ricardo Dawson comment is true- it is being percieved as an admission by Nokia they couldn't survive as a WP company, and the purchase by MS started that perception.


This so offsets and completely overshadows all the good news of WP 8.1 coming and all the OEM's jumping on WP in the next year.

This makes no sense to me no matter how I look at it.

They release a phone which supposedly runs sluggish (says the verge in their hands on). How on earth is that going to pull people into WP experience wise (which runs beautifully on low end hardware, ironically)

The supposed upgrade path - at least from today's perspective - looks like a joke at best, expecting the average dude to ditch all his/her apps and rebuy, reset and redo basically everything they had on their X. Again - not even in the same ballpark as going 520>1020 or whatever.

Cost - and I agree there - ca hardly be the issue here, especially taking msicrosoft's latest announcements of low-end SOC support into consideration.

Say what you want, but one key element of WP is it's beautiful design. This is ugly as sin. Like a 12 year old tried to copy a great product. The UI looks like my grandparents decided to design somethign. Broken record, I know, but why would ANYONE get this over a 520? Ever! 

Finally, this plan - even if it is so shrewd it sails right over my head - will always be interpreted as lost confidence in your own business model. That alone may well cause more trouble than it could ever do good.

Shrewd plan? Don't get it, sorry

Very smart move from Nokia. The best is that the fcking Google has been fooled. Looks like Nokia really doesnt like Google (neither me). If I remember well, some 5-6 years ago N. refused Googles offer to start making "regular" Android phones. Whats more Nokia "abused"Googles  Android on MS cloud services, ha ha ha.


Google did the hard work for MS/Nokia (developed Android 4.XXX) but MS and Nokia will be profiting from Googles OS  ... 

I would bet that Microsoft bought Nokia when they found out about the development of the X range and will indeed kill it as soon as possible.

I'm on the "can't see the point" side. It's almost as if this is the result of the anti-MS faction within Nokia released just to spite their future employers. As many others have said, it's not that much cheaper than the (infinitely superior) Lumia 520, which, I notice, is now available off-the-shelf in your local Sainsbury's for £75 off-contract. Either way, it's already being wilfully misinterpreted by numpty tech journalists as a concession of defeat by Nokia and MS to Android.

"introduces Microsoft services to millions..."?! Exactly what services are you talking about?! What Microsoft services is android missing?! Skype, no. Bing search, outside of the US (and maybe UK) sucks. Bing news, sports, health, translator, etc?! No one will ever change OS for those. Bing maps or here maps?! Seriously?!
Now that im familiar with android im gonna upgrade to a Windows Phone?! Yes, that'll work.

I find it even more hilarious that they didn't go with KitKat, which has performance increases on lower end hardware (Moto G). So basically your handing customers a sluggish WP...

Lol.. Moto G hardware are not low end, they are mid range hardware. This is what I think about U.S tech person: they have very little knowledge about entry level android phones at unsubsidized cost, so I think Verge might be comparing it with Moto G while complaining about Nokia X,which is funny as Moto G 8 gb cost twice as Nokia X here in India. Also Lumia cost $130 cheapest. So if Nokia priced this good it would sell but yes entry level android lags but having seen the Verge hands on this one is quite decent.

Its a sign of nothing, because this is all irrelevant. Microsoft will kill this whole thing when they get the keys to Nokia. Want a POS Android device running on Nokia hardware? Better grab one of these things, because these will.probably be the first and last of them.

The logic behind this I m unable to understand,how android handset will be useful for windows phone platform?if price is nearer to L520,or L525 than think most of the people in India choose this Nokia android and not Lumia because as it is android so obviously their will be more app ,oh god full of confusion....is it sign of new era of nokia on android platform?

I've got a feeling that most exclusively loyal Nokia Windows Phone owners are going to grab one (i sure am) meaning this has already had an adverse effect on the shrewdness of this plan....it's converted the WP crew to Android!!!

Interesting and bold/risky strategy.  It will certainly get Google thinking hard about impact on their advertising revenue from the next billion users in developing countries. 

If you can get X users hooked on MS/Nokia core services over the next 1-4 years then migrate them across to full Windows Phone 9/10 (X perhaps?), by which time the MS app store is closer to parity with Google Play (and MS has fixed up its teething issues with Win 8), it could well pay off in the medium-term.

Also remember that they can potentially undercut other Android phones by a few dollars by not having to pay the "Microsoft-Android" tax on every handset.

The potential downside is clear (eg. lack of Win app development), but only MS/Nokia is positioned to provide a strong alternative to Google Play Services that can strip Google of its ad revenue stream.

Think of it as a numbers game.  If they can get X% of users to buy a Nokia X instea of a Google phone and upgrade Y% of those users to a WP, they're ahead of the alternative.

You've got love competition and it will be fascinating to watch!

Why would I ever buy a lumia after buying a Nokia X though?  MS has all these same services on every android and iphone as well.  


I think MS and Nokia assuming that people won't want to change interfaces and go to Android is not a smart gamble.

^^^This. It seems everyone is missing the point of this device. Yes, many MS/Nokia services are already on Android and iOS; however, they are not prominently displayed. A user would have to dig around to find and install. I imagine most non power users either just use the default Android iOS services and apps or they just pick the top rated apps from the store. By crafting a custom Android phone, Nokia can put its services and Microsoft's front and center. Nokia is a strong brand, just like Samsung and Apple. When people see this device (which is not for the average user on WPC), they are going to buy it because of the Nokia brand and the Android brand.

Right now I suspect many people have a very positive image of Nokia, but are hesitant to buy a WP 8 phone because the WP brand is not well-established yet. So, they instead choose one if the many Android phones that surround them because they are cheap and they have Android which is a very established brand. With this new phone, Nokia can grab the many people who like Nokia, but aren't quite ready to take the plunge into WP. These people will see the Nokia brand, see the it runs Android...and buy it over other less brand established Android devices. But wait, there's more because this phone has Nokia/MS apps and services preinstalled and ready to go (which the average user is not going to change) and a UI that has strong similarities to WP. In a little while when that user is ready to get a new phone, all of a suddenly, WP looks pretty good because one is already hooked into MS and Nokia services and one is already familiar with the UI. So, they buy WP (why buy Android or Apple when you would have to switch to their services and learn a new UI?)

+1! I couldn't agree more. This is exactly what I taught about forked Android on Nokia X, and I've digged some MSFT apps out there at the play store, and it's so hard to find. By utilizing forked Android and putting their apps and services (mine prefer OneDrive, Outlook, and HERE Maps and Drive), they should lure people to use their services. And, of course, with no ads at all, rather than other Androids! That's what I like from Nokia and Microsoft.

Cool. I was watching the live stream early this morning and was excited to see how smooth the UI flowed and how much more "Windows Phone" like the Nokia X is, even down to the keyboard. I was excites to see the strategy that I predicted Nokia(Microsoft) going in, actually coming to fruition almost virtually to the "t" of what I predicted in my post- The Nokia Normandy/X - Nokia's(Microsoft's) Trojan Phone.

The phones actually look much better than I thought they would. Not as cheap. And then then the addition of the X+ and the slam dunk with XL. Awesome move Nokia and Microsoft. Awesome move!!!

This so called screwd plan makes no sense whatsoever. As it has been already stated not only is the price difference between these crappy phones and the 520 minimal, it would force any would be converters to lumia to repurchase all their apps while realising that many arent there at all. The only way this will work in Wp favour is by showing people how crappy android really is in low end hardware.

These "X" devices better make a name for themselves. Otherwise both Nokia and MS gonna look bad, thus WP will look bad.

If the phone can run 75% of Android apps. When theses people switch to windows phone 8 and can't run their favorite Android apps they will be pissed. bye bye Nokia.

There are a lot of people out there I know that are just scared of smart phones or don't see the point of them. The Nokia X may well be most peoples very first smart phone. Look at the cheap low end galaxies, they are very cheap and nasty compared to the Nokia X but same price. After using MS OS Android seems alot more complicated to use. This is a training phone for people like my friend Andrew, in his 50s, to get them on board the smart phone experience and hopefully if they like the experience direct them towards windows phones. That's why most people on this blog just don't see the point of this Nokia X, there are people out there don't even know what a blog is. I may consider buying one of these for instance work, or being in a harsh urban or country environment where I may feel a bit uneasy about my lovely and very special Nokia 92+. Or even to go on holiday in Asia. Windows will always be No1

Really don't understand this strategy. Nokia is now fragmented across two platforms and sending a mixed message. I'll stick with wp and continue to recommend it to others.

It might be profitable for Nokia to sell a lot of cheap handsets, but I think it will hurt the MS ecosystem in the long run. Simply because what WP needs is a larger install base to remove the chicken and egg problem. This way there will be fewer WPs to develop for than there could be. Not to mention it's creating a jarring experience to move from Android WP to normal WP.

Also it's confusing. It's confusing for me as a WP follower let alone for the regular customer.

Keep it simple stupid.


There is nothing positive for the WP platform with this move. The mental gymnastics used by this article to make it seem so is astounding.

This Nokia Android store may even have something to do with the rumors saying that they want to enable Android apps on WP, at least that would make some sense after all, they wouldn't be bounded to Google Play and yet bolster the app count.

I lost faith in Microsoft with mobile after my Motorola A3100 Windows Mobile 6.1 phone - then lost faith in Android after my Sony-Ericsson X10 running Android 2.3.3.

Full circle though I'd give Nokia a try with the Lumia 800. I'd been following Windows Phone 7 as a curious Android user very dissatisfied with the speed (very dissatisfied). Loving my 920.

Windows Phone was the middle ground - not as beta-ish as Android, not as locked down as the iPhone. An Android built to immigrate Windows Phone could get more looking sideways at Windows Phone - especially with 8.1 coming out.

Think all of the resources that could have been used to make improvements to the Windows Phone platform that were instead wasted trying to make Android run/look like Windows Phone.

If a Nokia Android Windows Phone Skin X provides a marginal user experience, why would a user upgrade to a Nokia Lumia? Most consumers' first reaction would be to try a competing manufacturer's device next.

Looks alright being that its Nokias design buuuut androids android im keen to see wp8.1 complete and ready for the masses more then anything at this point

There are very few users who wanted WP. Me personally wanted quality Nokia after iphone and samsung androd. I just went on WP because that was a sacrifice to own a great phone for great price (Lumia 920). Now I got used to it and with coming 8.1 i think i will finally like WP. But even then I would buy only Nokia. In my country WP is really rare and everyone laughs when they see this interface, compared to all mighty and popular android & ios. So I think this is really good strategy

WP is strugling a lot. Best selling device, 520 is not making any money to the manufacturer. This is a great move! And a big FU to google.

Always that WPCentral was much more than a fanboy site ... This article makes me doubt that ... just as the articles in TimesofIndia announcing Nokia ditching Windows for Android are off the mark ...

If India is a target market , one key behaviour specific to India is that its a handset driven market and not an operator driven one so upgrades are difficult to control ... plus i strongly believe that the market segment these phones are after ... those people do not really change handsets that frequently so the stepping stone to Lumia argument looks weak ...

Considering that these phones are positioned between Asha and Lumia , what i would like to know is that were there any significant issues with scaling up Asha ? From a feature perspective , what functionality will these phones bring that couldnt be developed on the Asha line ?

Ok, if you own Nokia Asha you would have noticed that Asha apps are not polished,they are just basic java apps, Asha also does not a working PDF reader, basically Asha is a feature phone that Nokia tried to label as Smartphone. This phone is actually an up gradation of Asha phones, Nokia while announcing the phones never said it as an Android phone but as a Nokia phone with Android app compatibility, this in itself addresses the main weakness of Asha phones: quality apps. I think they just rebranded it because Asha phones have been refreshed twice(1st Asha touch like 305,308,311 and Asha platform like 501,503) so as not to fragment it more. Asha phones all run the basic s40 at their core,that would not have been upscaled anymore than what Nokia has upscaled running only java j2me apps. I think we should look at this phone as Asha with android app compatibility,then this makes sense. Just hope they get the pricing correct. Also Nokia hoped to replace s40 with meltemi a low version of Meego which was scrapped,this phone using android 4.1 clearly shows that this phone was started as meltemi was scrapped,that was when android 4.1 was newly announced.

I knew this would be the reason but I'm split whether its a great idea or not 1) you're using Android as lure yet 2) you're making it look and feel like WP and sold at the same price a la 520! Well, at least this will calm the the many defectors and fanbois freaks who always wanted Nokia to go Android.

There are some major flaws in their plan.


1) If I purchase the Nokia X, spend $25 on apps over a year, I'm most likely to buy a nicer phone that already lets me reinstall my apps.  Guess what, someone will manage to get the Nokia Store onto any android device.  The whole strategy isn't thought out well.

2) If this thing runs as poorly as other blogs are stating, people will start to associate MS services with bloat and slowness.  They won't blame the shitty OS, they'll blame the services that run on it.


Nokia, I am disappoint.

To think about it, this whole "luring" strategy is absurd! The hard work done with the 520 to get developing countries to switch to WP is underscored by this "X". Now with w8.1, Nokia can make WP even cheaper! The "X" is not necessary! WP Is already a simple OS.

If you can afford or care enough to spend $25 on apps in an Android store that is filled with free apps, then why would you choose to buy this phone? It's not aimed at you.

I feel bad for Mr.Rubino for being in the tough spot. He did write this article as positive as possible.

Yeah seems like a waste of resources to me. Just give them the 520 in the first place that probably runs way smoother than these and is priced the same. That Trojan horse stray seems like Google sent us the Trojan instead of Nokia to the masses.

Nokia's Nokia X can get people to think that MS's WP finally fail because even their biggest OEM, Nokia, have to get Android. This is completely different than MS could plan to launch office app for ipad ealier than Windows table. 

I don't understand why MS try to kill themselves when they are going to prepare their biggest and important update since WP lanuched.

MS have spent tons of money and effort, time on WP's PR for years but this stupid move make their effort and money spent for years be useless.

The concept seems to be a good one, but they should have gone with at least 1GB RAM, made it thinner (say 9 mm) and should have gone with Kitkat 4.4. People would have grabbed them. Most reviews talk about noticible lag. That I think is due to the RAM limitation.

Which entry level android has 1 gb ram? Nokia started making this phone when android 4.1 was announced, it takes time to make something.

Nokia is using the open source version of Android. The open source KitKat version wasn't even released until Dec 13th. I would assume this phone has been in the works for at least 9 months before that.

wpcentral don't try to spin this because people are noticing it very quickly....this is not cnet were if apple poops in a box its still number one. Second, sending people to the play store will not drive them to window phone lumia, in fact they will alway wait for a better nokia android or they will go to samsung....lets get real here there is more to the phone then the hardware that has been windows phone problem from the start....and now your going to give android more power to use there nokia store/play store.....wpcentral can write whatever they want but the market of windows phone buyers are much bigger then wpcentral and i don't think they are happy about this because they know that this will make developers less insterested in developing for nokia/windows because now they have nokia/android and if it kicks off big the nokia excutive will be forced to listen to there share holders and customers and make higher end android phones until they competing with samsung and then they will fall flat on there face and will end up like HTC

What people dont seem to realise is that this phone is targeted at markets and people who love 'Nokia' and dont care much about the OS. A lot of people who bought Windows Phone for example in India only bought them because they were Nokias. The same type of people are going to buy these phones. Nokia is targetting the people who are switching to cheap Android phones (not samsung, HTC etc) from Feature phones.

I agree with the title of the article but I disagree with the contents of the article.  It is indeed a shrewd move by Nokia to get into the android handset business.  Another revenue stream that most likely will prove to be lucrative (evidenced by the 520/521) for Nokia which they desperately need(ed).   Please keep in mind that this project was started a while ago.  Nokia WPs didn't exactly light the world on fire so Nokia did what it HAD to do if it expects to be a going concern.  Additionally, the low end android market is clearly an area where the Nokia brand can compete.  It would have been crazy for Nokia to attempt to compete against Samsung day 1.  Additionally, it makes sense to give 'em android while promoting your own services and msft's for that matter.  It would have been total surrender to include Google's services.  It is my opinion that Nokia would sell more devices if they went with regular android but I understand why they can't at the moment.

I completely disagree with the premise of the article.  These phones were born out of Nokia's desire to survive as a company and not some master plan to give folks a taste of Nokia android with Nokia/Microsoft services built in and then have 'em switch to a Nokia Window's phone.  That's simply too far fetched and an unrealistic gamble that would NOT likely been approved by the board.

The real interesting question is what will Microsoft do if these phones sell well (does anyone know when the acquisition will be finalized).  It is not as simple as profits are profits.  The fact that Microsoft's services (revenue streams) are baked in, that's a potentially compelling reason to continue the investment.  However, if it means the erosion of profits in other key investment areas, that's reason for pause.  I expect that this will be looked at closely each quarter and that there are tagets that will trigger certain events.

Lastly, if Microsoft wanted to launch an android phone with its services built in, they couldn't without admitting failure of its mobile OS.  Only Nokia could have done it for them.  One theory is that Microsoft could have been one of the key drivers behind this from day one.  We all know there is money there to be had; it is just that Microsoft could never be the one to kick off the initiative without the media headlines "Microsoft admits failure and jumps on the android bandwagon" etc.  However, if they inherit a successful product, no one would fault them for keeping it if it didn't harm another business unit.  Additionally, I am certain that there are some Microsoft board members who wish for Microsoft to get on the android bandwagon and sell its services.  So again, I agree with the title of this article but not the reasoning.

Exactly! MS can always blame Nokia if it fails... If it works, it can say that it was a good move to buy the Nokia mobile division! I am sure this will make money. It is so easy to adapt Android apps to this Nokia X environment.

Well that should run Windows App eventually if that is there plan.  Otherwise, what the heck is the point?  I'm a new user -- I know it runs Android I get used to Anroid apps or whatever is there in the Nokia Store and when I transition to Lumia WP those apps are not there?  WTF?  They should put Windows Phone apps there but then again why go to all that trouble?  Maybe this is what Elop has planned if he is not MS CEO?