The Finnish mobile phone giant announced three low-cost smartphones that run the Google Android operating system. This is the first time Nokia is launching Android phones after the company was acquired by Microsoft last year.
Stephen Ellop, CEO of Nokia, said the move was aimed at creating a segment of affordable smartphones priced lower than its Windows-based Lumia range. The new family line includes Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL that will be available for 89, 99 and 109 euros, respectively, or about $122, $135 and $150, all before any carrier subsidies.
“Nokia X is a new affordable smartphone family from Nokia,” explains Jussi Nevanlinna, vice president of marketing for Nokia’s phones. “X stands for ‘crossover’ between Microsoft cloud, Android apps and Nokia. When we say family, we really mean it. During 2014 you’ll see a number of products arriving in this family.”
The Nokia X comes with a 4-inch screen, 512 megabytes of RAM and a 3-megapixel camera. The Nokia X+ also includes a 4-inch screen and 3-megapixel camera, but it has 768 megabytes of RAM and comes with a 4-gigabyte MicroSD card. The Nokia XL has a 5-inch screen, 768 megabytes of RAM, a 4-gigabyte MicroSD card and a 5-megapixel camera. All three use a 1-gigahertz Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual Core processor.
Each model, available in numerous color options, is powered by Android, but Nokia designed the three smartphones to maintain a Windows Phone feel. Despite being the first Android handset from the Finnish firm, it has chosen to run an older version of the Google-owner software – Android 4.1 Jellybean. The most up-to-date version is Android 4.4 KitKat.
Nokia has given up on Google’s software services like Play market, Google Maps and Frive cloud, and now comes with software developed by Nokia and Microsoft, including Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage, integration with Microsoft’s Bing search engine, Skype, and Nokia’s own HERE maps application.
As the Telegraph reports, the much-rumored move means the Windows maker will face the prospect of selling devices that run on the platform that has powered Google to dominance of the mobile phone sector when it completes the transaction later this year.
Windows Phone has been criticized for being difficult to use and runs a fraction of the popular apps seen on the other platforms. Android, on the other hand, holds the majority share of the smartphone market in every region globally and has an app store with more than 700,000 apps.
“The affordable smartphone market is growing four times faster than the overall smartphone market, and that’s where the Nokia X comes in,” said Timo Toikkanen, the head of Nokia’s mobile phones unit.
The Nokia X range also complements the firm’s existing range of budget handsets, namely the Asha range.
Mr. Elop stressed that “Nokia X becomes a feeder system” for the main Lumia platform, which runs Windows Phone. “Nokia X together with Lumia will deliver value to the widest possible population. Lumia remains our primary smartphone platform.”
The Nokia X will go on sale immediately in March, rolling out in India, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, South America, Western Europe and the Middle East. The Nokia X+ and the Nokia XL will go on sale in those markets in the second quarter. No word on when the devices will be available in the U.S.