Nokia launch first ever Android Phones

Three new handsets priced between £73 and £90 will run a customized version of Android and target the "next billion" customers in emerging markets

Nokia will produce its first smartphones running Google’s Android platform just days before the Finnish company sells its handset business to Microsoft in a $7.2 billion deal.

Its first models – the Nokia X, X+ and XL smartphones, priced between £73, £81 and £90 - will be primarily aimed at customers in emerging markets, a key battleground for tech giants fighting to sign up the “next billion” smartphone customers (and therefore internet users) to their respective ecosystems.

To this end, the Nokia X will employ a customized version of Android that will act as a gateway to Windows Phone products. The handset’s home screen will use a tiled interface similar to that found on the more expensive Lumia devices and Microsoft services such as Bing, Skype and Outlook will take the place of those offered by Google.

Read more: Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL: Prices, specifications and release dates
Nokia X review: A Windows Phone-Android hybrid that punches above its weight  

The X and X+ smartphones will feature 4-inch screens and mid-range specifications with the X+ offering more memory and expandable memory. The XL will offer a 5-inch screen and front and back cameras (5 megapixels and 2 megapixels respectively). The phones will include free music streaming from Nokia Music Radio, 10GB of free storage from Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service and 1 month free international calls on Skype.

The phones will not have access to Google’s app store, Google Play, but will instead use Nokia’s rival service where apps are tested and curated. Nokia have said that porting Android apps onto the three new smartphones can be achieved in a matter of hours.

The handsets are visually similar to Nokia's Windows Phone offerings, although familiar Android feature (such as the notification bar at the top of the screen) are still visible. Image credit: Getty/AFP

The announcement marks a major shift in tactics for Nokia and for Microsoft. When Nokia tied itself to the Windows Phone operating system three years ago it was thought that the company’s high-end Lumia range of smartphones would challenge Apple’s iPhone in the premium sector. However, with demand in this area shrinking and Lumia’s handsets failing to sell in significant numbers it seems that the companies are instead shifting their attention to first-time smartphone buyers.

“This is a very rational move, and Nokia, unlike other struggling vendors, is taking whatever it takes to survive, even when it means to take a 180-degree turn on its strategy,” says Francisco Jeronimo, Research Director of European Mobile Devices for market analysts IDC.

“Nokia is not growing as fast as they expected with the Windows Phone Lumia range; the Asha portfolio is not able to compete with the low-end Android devices on emerging markets; and Windows Phones aren’t ready to address the ultra low-end price tiers, where the growth will be in the coming years, particularly in emerging markets. This new family of devices will address some of these issues.”

However, Jeronimo notes that Microsoft is running the risk of “sending the wrong message to the market” by creating a new, unfamiliar operating system and capitulating to the strength of Android.

“After all there’s no better recognition of failure then adopting the competitor’s main product,” says Jeronimo. “This strategy has the potential to give Nokia short-term results, but will it pay off in the long run? If the devices are extremely successful how will Nokia and Microsoft migrate those users, probably first-time smartphone adopters, to the Windows Phones?”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

    £30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

    Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Engineer - Linux, Windows, Cloud - Central London

    £40000 - £48000 per annum + 10% bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engin...

    Recruitment Genius: Configuration and Logistics Team Member

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 30 years ...

    Guru Careers: Creative Director / Head of Creative

    £65K - £75K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Creative Director...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence