Hands-on with Nokia's Android X and XL devices

Hands-on with Nokia's Android X and XL devices

Summary: At Mobile World Congress, ZDNet got a quick look at Nokia's new Android device range. How does it measure up to the competition?


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  • Nokia has also added its own gesture modifications for its keyboard and provides a set of instructions explaining how to quick copy, cut and paste, add punctuation, or change the case of letters.

  • Common to other Android devices, a downward swipe connectivity icons in the top right hand corner of the screen provides shortcuts to wi-fi, Bluetooth, a SIM card switcher and sound.

  • Although users won't be able to download apps from Google's Play store, they can use rival Android app stores such as Yandex's.

    And while Nokia and its soon-to-be new owner Microsoft will be hoping developers port their Android apps to the Nokia platform, there are already a few old favourites installed on the device.

    One app that was installed on all X devices on display was BBM, which has yet to make it to any of Nokia's Lumia devices. BlackBerry separately announced BBM would be available on Windows Phone devices this summer.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Microsoft, MWC, Nokia

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

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, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Lumia Line is Better

    I think the low end Lumia 520 is proven to be a great phone and likely better than Android-X, and the new Lumia 928 and Lumia Icon are far better. Why again does Nokia want to make this phone? To get people to upgrade to Lumia?
    Sean Foley
    • It's inreresting, thats for sure!

      I had a 620 and found it acceptable and competitive at launch under £200

      I ditched it due to app support and 0 ui bug fixed in the 8 months I onwed it.

      If this is a fork of android, app support will be key. Only three api changes from upstream should give it a huge list of apps compared to it's bigger brother, you just have to figure out how to install them without gplay.

      As a replacement to the 520 and 620? I suppose less cost could be used on componenents... Good replacement to asha ... Time will tell about win phone. So long as they don't loose interest in it as fast as previous attempts, seems good...
    • Cheaper Phone for Lower-end Markets

      Of course it's not "better"... they're making a phone that can retail for under $100 or so.

      Why, or why Nokia? Both have the same answer: other countries. Nokia sells something like 70% of all the cellphones in Africa. Most of these are $35-$50 candybar-style dumb phones, but that's their market. The Asha phones have been an attempt to move to a smart/feature platform. We in the West think mostly about smartphones, and we GEEKs in the West think mostly about high-end smartphones, both because what's what's usually in our pockets, and because that's the fun end of the spectrum to follow. But it's not the whole world, and really, Nokia needs whatever business they can keep.

      Yes, the Lumia 520 sold very well (for a Windows Phone, anyway) in some lower income areas of the world. But Nokia had cut that to under a 5% margin, barely worth selling... they were making 12-15% margin on Asha phones sold for even less. The goal here is clearly to make a device they can sell into lower-end markets, and profitably. I'm kind of surprised Nokia went to Android on this. But the cost of supporting a whole OS of your own is huge, even for stripped-down operating systems like NOKIA40 on the Asha phone. Windows Phone has very strict rules about the hardware it's allowed to run on, so it can only go so low, at least for now. Android can certainly use a fast, multicore processor, but it does run on lower-spec gear.

      The other issue for many countries is power -- you can't sell many phones in Africa that don't have a very long battery life, simply because power isn't such a reliable thing in many parts of Africa. They like the basic Nokia candybar phones because they go a week on a charge, and they don't break when you drop them. There's not a single premium smartphone that could do that specific job, even if it were free.
  • XXXX?

    The end of the dying Nokia. This is crap.
    • Yet, there are a lot of Android crap phones out there, and they are the

      biggest selling in the Android smartphone space.

      Nokia is targeting the same low end market as the rest of the Android crap is aiming at.