Three new X series phones – Nokia X, X+, XL have been announced by Nokia at the start of MWC 2014. With the new X series Nokia did the unthinkable – they somehow managed to fork Android in the best way possible to their benefit. A clever, game-changing move indeed but it will materialize only if they deliver what they are promising and continue with the development of great X series devices. I doubt it however considering the fact that the so called forked-Android Nokia devices will have to live under the shadow of their powerful but immature WP powered siblings. Nokia will always face the dilemma of Lumia vs X while planning/designing new phones – because they can’t afford to make X phones more powerful and feature rich than Lumias which sport their primary OS. If they do then most users will prefer to buy an Android-apps ready device rather than a closed system Lumia phone – which is something Microsoft will not be very happy with.
So what does this move signify? Did Nokia surrender to Android (Google)? Yes and no, yes because they finally accepted the fact that Android is the undisputed king of mobile OSes and no because rather than accepting Android as it is, they just adopted the most popular and profitable part of Android – apps. The main strategy behind this move is to attract the huge user base of Android and to beat the competition with their own weapon. For this they created their own mobile environment to assimilate the Android apps. This is a win-win situation for Nokia – this way they will not only get back their lost customers but will also snatch a significant market share of its close competitors (read Samsung) within no time. This move is almost destined to help Nokia regain its market share and probably its position as a number one mobile maker in the long run. But isn’t it a little late – at least from Nokia’s perspective, had they done it few years back they might not have become what they are today – the mobile scenario would have been different for sure.
Anyway Nokia has made it clear that the X series phones will still have Nokia Store as the default app store which means there will be no Google services/apps (including PlayStore) pre-installed in these devices. But the good news is that about 75% of current Android apps are compatible with Nokia X series phones without any modification while the rest 25% can easily be made compatible by a little tweaking of code. This means you can install millions of apps (by sideloading apks) in Nokia X phones right away. Besides Nokia has invited Android developers to submit their apps/games to the Nokia Store which translates into another stream of extra income for them. Although X phones UI contains tiles (like Lumias) but it can easily be modified via Android launcher apps.
Here is the specs sheet of first three members of new Nokia X series –
From the specs it is evident that X series phones are low to mid-range devices, targeted for budget conscious users. Nokia hardware quality coupled with Android app ecosystem will make a killer combo and is expected to kick out Samsung and even local players (Micromax, Karbonn etc) from this market segment. Good luck Nokia!
Images credit – Nokia