Microsoft looks like it's working on a new Android smartphone, the Nokia X2

Summary:Microsoft looks set to continue with the Android-based Nokia X line, hoping to bring new users in emerging markets to its cloud products.

If reports are correct, Microsoft is already working on a successor to Nokia's Android-based X smartphones, which could ship in 2015.

According to BGR India, Microsoft Mobile, the Finland-based part of Microsoft that makes Nokia-branded phones, has a new Nokia X device in the works.

If the report is accurate, Microsoft will address the Nokia X range's lack of a soft home button, common to all Android devices. As the report notes, X devices don't have Android's scroll down notifications, but rather Nokia's Asha Fastlane hub for messages and media, which is accessed from the home screen.

What many didn't realise was that Nokia made a long press on the back button (to go back to the last open app on Android) a shortcut to the home screen.

Another report suggests the new Nokia X devices will arrive in 2015, citing benchmarks for the device that appeared in Chinese media. The alleged Nokia X2 will have a 1.2GHz Qualcomm processor, 1GB of RAM and 4GB onboard storage, meaning a reasonable step up on the higher-end Nokia XL , which came with a 1GHz dual-core processor, 768MB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage.

Microsoft Devices declined to comment on the rumoured second-generation X device.

Nokia launched the three first-generation Nokia X devices at this year's Mobile World Congress , smartphones carrying a Windows Phone-like skin atop an Android Open Source Project (ASOP) build of Android. Notably, Nokia X devices lacked the ability to natively run Google apps, which users were also unable to download from Google's Play store. Instead, the phones shipped with Microsoft's Outlook.com, Skype, and Nokia's Here maps, while other Android apps could be downloaded from the Nokia store or via third-party Android stores such as Russia's Yandex. 

Costing between $110 and $140, the trio of Nokia X devices — the X, X+ and XL — form a bridge between its Series 40-based Asha touchphone and its Windows Phone OS phones, such the popular Lumia 520, in both price and feature set. The first Nokia X device arrived in India this March, priced at around $140

While many expected Microsoft to pull the plug on Nokia's Android smartphones after Microsoft bought Nokia's devices and services unit earlier this year, that's not what Microsoft Devices' chief Stephen Elop has been hinting at. As ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reported in April , Elop said the Nokia X fits with Microsoft's ambition to connect the next billion people to its own cloud services rather than Google's.

Terry Myerson, the head of Microsoft's operating systems group, has also made similar remarks about the Nokia X.

And, as shown by the recent kerfuffle about Android apps from non-Google stores mysteriously landing in Nokia's app store , the Nokia X gives Microsoft a useful bridge to connect with Android developers that it wouldn't have without the devices.

Read more on the Nokia X

Topics: Mobility, Android, Microsoft, Nokia, Smartphones

About

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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