The first question you should be asking yourself is “what in the hell is an Android website doing posting about Nokia handsets?” and though the answer to that would normally be “have you seen what some Android sites are posting as Android related news these days” the actual answer is a little more complex and one which I hope to share my thoughts with you all on as we go over the news of the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL being announced at MWC in Barcelona today.
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Introduces full portfolio including Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL smartphones to bring Internet and cloud services to ‘next billion’
Barcelona, Spain – Today at Mobile World Congress, Nokia underscored its commitment to connecting the next billion to the Internet by releasing five new affordable handsets, including Nokia X, a family of smartphones that run Android(TM) apps, Microsoft services and signature Nokia experiences.
– The Nokia Asha 230 is Nokia’s most affordable full-touch Asha device to date, priced at EUR 45.
– The Nokia 220 is an Internet-ready mobile phone with social apps, priced at only EUR 29.
Stephen Elop, executive vice president of Nokia’s Devices & Services, commented on the launches:
“Nokia has connected billions of people around the world, and today we demonstrated how our portfolio is designed to connect the next billion people to great experiences.”
“Our deliberate approach is to offer four tiers of products including our affordable entry-level devices like the new Nokia 220; our entry-level Asha touch phones like the new Nokia Asha 230; our new Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL smartphones primarily for growth economies; and our Lumia portfolio, which is where we introduce the greatest innovation and provide full compatibility with the Microsoft experience,” he added.
Nokia X family delivers the best of all worlds
The Nokia X family features Nokia’s renowned handset quality and design, with a fresh, tile-based user interface inspired by our Lumia family. All devices come with Fastlane, a screen which lets people switch between their favorite apps more smoothly. People can access curated, quality-tested apps from Nokia Store, more than a dozen third-party app stores and by sideloading. Out of the box, they can enjoy signature Nokia experiences including free* HERE Maps, with true offline maps and integrated turn-by-turn navigation, and Nokia MixRadio for free* music streaming and downloadable playlists. All devices are also pre-loaded with a variety of third-party apps and games.
The Nokia X family is also an affordable introduction to popular Microsoft services, including free* cloud storage using OneDrive. With the purchase of any Nokia X family smartphone in select markets, people will get one month of Skype’s Unlimited World Subscription for a limited time, ideal to make international calls to landlines in more than 60 countries and to mobile phones in 8 countries.
The first device, the Nokia X, comes with a 4″ IPS capacitive display and 3MP camera. The Nokia X+ is optimised for multimedia enthusiasts, who can enjoy even more games, music, photos and video thanks to more memory and storage. Both the Nokia X and Nokia X+ will be available in bright green, bright red, cyan, yellow, black and white**. The third family member, the Nokia XL, boasts a 5″ display with 2MP front-facing camera – ideal for Skype video calls – and a 5MP rear-facing, autofocus camera with flash. The Nokia XL will be available in bright green, orange, cyan, yellow, black and white. The entire Nokia X family is powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon(TM) dual core processor and supports Dual SIM, letting people switch SIM cards to get better tariffs.
The Nokia X will go on sale immediately, starting at EUR 89*** and rolling-out in Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. The Nokia X+ and Nokia XL are expected to roll out in these markets starting early second quarter, priced at EUR 99 and EUR 109, respectively.
Beautifully crafted phones for the “mobile first” generation: Nokia Asha 230 and Nokia 220
Nokia also unveiled two further handsets designed for people experiencing the Internet for the first time.
Adding to the popular Asha range of devices, the Nokia Asha 230 is the ideal introduction to full-touch mobile phones. The Nokia Asha 230 includes all the benefits of the Nokia Asha Software Platform, including Fastlane and access to popular social apps like Line, WeChat and WhatsApp. One swipe up from the lockscreen activates the Nokia Asha 230’s camera, and one touch enables people to share images to their favourite social network. With a forthcoming software update, the Nokia Asha 230 will introduce 7GB of free cloud storage on Microsoft OneDrive, and the option to automatically back up photos to the cloud.
Priced at just EUR 45, the Nokia Asha 230 is the most affordable Asha touch device ever. Available in single and Dual SIM variants, it will start rolling out immediately across Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
Nokia also introduced its lowest-priced, data-enabled phone: the beautifully designed Nokia 220, which makes mobile Internet accessible to more people around the world. With its 2.4″ colour screen, dust- and splash-proof keypad, the Nokia 220 is a well-crafted choice for people experiencing mobility and the Internet for the first time, with Facebook and Twitter pre-loaded and Bing as the default search engine in the pre-loaded Nokia Xpress browser. Retail prices for the Nokia 220 start at EUR 29. It will be available for sale immediately in single and Dual SIM variants and rolling-out in Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
* Data charges may apply.
** Colour availability for all devices mentioned will vary by market.
*** All prices are suggested retail before local taxes and subsidies. Actual in-market prices may vary.
About Nokia Nokia is a global leader in mobile communications whose products have become an integral part of the lives of people around the world. Every day, more than 1.3 billion people use their Nokia to capture and share experiences, access information, find their way or simply to speak to one another. Nokia’s technological and design innovations have made its brand one of the most recognized in the world. For more information, visit http://www.nokia.com/about-nokia.
– See more at: http://press.nokia.com/2014/02/24/nokia-connects-the-next-billion-with-affordable-smartphones/#sthash.zCndYHaJ.dpuf
To firstly answer the question, the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL all have one thing in common, they are all running Android Open Source Projects (AOSP) 4.1.2 release however that does not mean that they are Google Android handsets. There is a vast difference between a Google Android handset and a handset built to run from the source code of Android itself.
Let’s first give a brief overview of the OS, which as mentioned above is what’s known as a forked version of AOSP 4.1.2.
Nokia have done to the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL what Amazon have done to their Kindle Fire range. They have taken a source build of Android and customised it to suit with their own business needs. In doing this they have stipped ommited almost all of the things that most users know as Google Android from the devices and have replaced it with Microsoft alternatives such as Bing.
The OS has two home screen modes, the tile based look that most people have grown to know as being the look of Windows Phone and the Fastlane mode which is essentially the Nokia Asha OS look and feel.
As mentioned above, they have omitted all of the things that most people associate with phones that carry the Google Android OS. The biggest change here is the replacement of Google Play with Nokia Store which itself has a great number of Android apps such as Angry Birds and BBM however due to the fact that they simply don’t have a huge catalogue of apps yet, they have also included the ability to download alternative app stores like SlideMe.
Nokia have gone out of there way though to ensure that most traditional Google Play Android apps will work on their devices unlike the Kindle Fire however that in itself is a problem since getting some of the most wanted apps will require users to find a source of APK’s which will prevent users getting automatic app updates and could in itself put the users device at risk if there is a security flaw found in one of the apps they download.
The devices have all been loaded with a Qualcomm 1Ghz Dual Core Snapdragon 8225 processor and 512mb of RAM on the Nokia X compared to 768MB or RAM on the X+ and XL which given their price points (which we will cover a bit later) is fully expected. Normally a device having a 1Ghz Dual Core processor wouldn’t be such a problem if the software is optimised accordingly as Nokia have proven with their Lumia range of handsets however the low RAM specifications will cause a bigger problem for the new handsets even if the software is spot on.
As the video below from CoolSmartPhone shows, the devices are laggy which is simply down to the amount of RAM which they carry. From touching an app t open it to the app launching there is a noticeable delay which could be the downfall of getting the devices int carriers for sales support.
In terms of the builds of the devices, they are typical of other Nokia ranges such as the Lumia 520 and could be described as cheap however describing a cheap device as being cheap is almost pointless so I’ll just say the build is on par with the device price points.
The biggest let down for me however is not the CPU, the RAM or even the build quality, the one that hits me hardest is the displays on the devices. Despite the varying physical sizes of 4 inch on the X / X+ and 5 inch on the XL, they are all wide VGA 800 x 480 pixels. To give you an idea of how these devices compare to modern devices already running Google Android, the X and X+ are comparable to a Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 however their 5 inch XL device is comparable to the Dell Streak or Samsung Galaxy Grand which were devices release between 2010 and 2012. The resolution on the X and X+ are pretty much expected and whilst not fantastic they are simply standard however 5 inch devices with a 800 x 480 resolution is nothing short of being terrible.
Again though, it’s worth saying that these devices are cheap and with buying cheap you will get cheap inside.
Looking at the business reason behind Microsoft using Nokia devices to target the Android market, you can see why it’s perfect for them. They can now hit the most popular mobile sales market without having to produce Google Android devices and from what I’m being told by a source, the devices are also cheaper to produce than Windows Phones due to licensing costs.
Whilst these devices are hardly flattering to todays modern market, they 100% have a place in the market and will likely sell by the bucket load in a market space that Samsung have dominated for so long.Whilst Nokia might be a name that 30 somethings remember well as being pioneers in the mobile space, the name means a lot less to the target market of these devices so whilst they will sell loads of them, it won’t be without an uphill battle.
Overall I think that the devices are ugly but great for where they sit on the market, with the Nokia X starting at around £74, the Nokia X+ being around £82 and the Nokia XL expected sell for about £90 if Leigh Geary’s pricing is right (using Euro to Pound conversion).
Will I be picking one up? Absolutely, I can’t wait to try a Nokia device on Android, it’s almost been like a life-long want finally happening.