Here comes Microsoft's first Android handset, the Nokia X2

Here comes Microsoft's first Android handset, the Nokia X2

Summary: Microsoft sticks with the Android experiment started by Nokia, adding a new handset to the Nokia X range.

TOPICS: Mobility
Microsoft's new Android phone, the Nokia X2. Image: Microsoft

In a move that would have been inconceivable a couple of years back, Microsoft has unveiled its first Android handset, the Nokia X2.

The X2 is the follow-up to Nokia's X handset which was revealed in February, before the Finnish handset company was acquired by Microsoft. Even when the Nokia X was being shown off there was much speculation that Microsoft would shut down this Android experiment in order to focus solely on its own Windows Phone operating system — but that is evidently not the case.

The new handset runs what Microsoft calls the "Nokia X Software Platform 2.0", which is essentially the Android Open Source Project elements of Android but not the hooks into Google cloud services usually built on top. This way Microsoft can benefit from the popularity of Android while building in links to its own services, which is the long-term play: Windows Phone for the high end smartphones, then Nokia X and Asha at the low end. It's a pragmatic approach which acknowledges the strength of Android at the budget end and might just convert some users in emerging markets into Microsoft customers without them ever buying a PC.

Microsoft describes the Nokia X line as "a gateway to Microsoft services", a budget range aimed at the "next billion" smartphone users in emerging markets. It said the handsets are "driving strong uptake" of its services such as Skype and OneDrive. The device comes with, Skype and OneDrive pre-loaded, while others such as OneNote and Yammer can be downloaded from the Nokia Store. But like the Nokia X the new handset also gives users access to Android apps.

The dual-SIM handset, which goes on sale for €99 next month, features a 4.3-inch ClearBlack display and 5MP rear camera with autofocus and flash, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor featuring a dual core 1.2Ghz CPU and 1 GB of RAM.

The Nokia X2 will be available at launch in glossy orange, black and green, glossy yellow, white, and matte dark grey.

Microsoft highlighted the Nokia X's popularity in some emerging markets, claiming it is number one at its price in Russia, Kenya, and Nigeria, as well as being the overall top seller in Pakistan.

Further reading

Topic: Mobility

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  • I don't understand...

    Aren't these specs better than the Nokia 630? And, if so, then why not just put Windows Phone on it?
    • because they have...

      The 520 and 630 already with WP... This is a stepping stone to go from Android to WP so to avoid confusion should be a separate line.

      In a way it could mean the 5xx and 6xx series might get dropped at some stage so that it becomes the X series for 'low feature' phones (which suits Android well) and the high end runs WP and starts with the 7xx series.
      • So you reckon they will hold back ...

        ... and simply see this as a 'trojan horse' to trick Android users into loving Windows? Oh dear.

        It's much more likely that selling a deliberately cr*p phone will say to people: "Nokia make cr*p phones - next time, buy and fully featured Android from someone who makes the best phone they can." If they can't trust to make a decent Android, why would they trust you to make a decent windows phone?

        "Fool me once, shame on you ... fool me twice? GTFO"
        • Devices and services

          I thinks it more of way to get you to use Microsoft services. if they get you to buy a windows phone then that great, but I think and this is the general feeling I get from Microsoft lately. if they can get you to use there products and services they don't care if its MAC, Android or iOS...they rather you use a MS OS but if that not likely why not sell you a service. If you look at there latest pushes with office and cloud services, the push has been to expand their services to as many platforms as possible. Take Azure; Microsoft has been embracing a lot of Non-Microsoft technology which I don't have to tell you has not been the way that Microsoft has operated in the past.
        • you sure can't trust scroogle

          to make a decent android os, I believe that Microsoft will do a much better job and won't have the scroogle services stealing your information and selling it to the highest bidder.
          • Oh brother.

            Deal in hyperbole much?
        • This phone was not built for you

          This phone, like the 520, was build for the developing world. Its low end because that is what is affordable. Its designed to get you into Microsoft's ecosystem of OneDrive and Bing.
          Rann Xeroxx
      • I understand the "Windroid" strategy, but...

        I understand the Windroid strategy--to lure those enamored with Android towards Microsoft services--but I don't understand why they're using better hardware for the Android phones but charging more for the Windows Phones. That makes no sense at all.

        Also, the UI for these Windroid phones is going to confuse the consumer. To those who own Windows Phones, we know it's a cheap knockoff... but the average consumer probably does not... and, therefore, this will cheapen the Windows Phone brand.

        They need to make the UI on these Android phones look as much like the real Windows Phones as possible.
        • Stupid is as stupid does

          It is like the new Microsoft threw out all its physics text books and said, "Let's build us some rocket ships, without the encumbrances of lessons past! Now we can do all these great experiments. Yay!"

          First of all, if what many people are suggesting is true, building a business strategy around deceiving consumers to buy your product cannot last. Eventually consumers will find out, and stop buying your product. Second, these Android phones can only be subpar to their full blown Android competitors with Google services, including Google Play. They are also subpar to Windows Phone. So eventually people will figure out they are less than the competition. Third, what is the purpose of all of this? To get people to start using MS services which make no money? Maybe MS is hoping to flip these users onto services which make make money? I just don't see that happening any time soon.

          The above is one idiotic experiment, which has virtually no chance of succeeding. Also how would you define the success of this product? The new one Microsoft is developing an Android mobile OS which rivals full blown Android with accompanying services, and outclasses its own Windows Phone. It now supports a huge ecosystem of Android developers, which is causing developers of its own Windows platforms to jump ship. And by the way, it makes no money.
          P. Douglas
          • LOL!

            It's not just the Nokia X2 operating system, which based on Google's AOSP. The Nokia X2 default web browser is the Opera web browser, which based on Google's Chromium web browser (now using Blink).
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Well

            If you don't want a windows phone and use Android; these phones allow you to plug-in to Microsoft services without making the full jump to windows phone. By creating a Android variant with MS and Nokia services, it allows Microsoft chance to get users using there service who are not inclined to migrate to wp. Even if they don't buy another MS-Android phone they may continue to use there services.
          • Maybe is a Smart Stratergy

            Maybe Microsoft is smarter than you. Why put all the eggs in one basket? Why they have to be subpar? What is to figure out? Do you like Lexus? They are the same as Toyota. Same as Cadillac and Chevrolet, Lincoln and Ford, Infinity and Nissan, Audi and VW, etc. You have different products for different markets

            Nokia came with the original idea of using Android on their phones. Microsoft just continue the support of it because it wasn't a bad idea. Remember all phone makers using Android pay royalty to Microsoft. So, they are still making money. The point is Microsoft is giving choices. You like Windows Phone, you buy a Window phone. You like Android, Microsoft got you cover. That is where Microsoft become a giant. They offer their service and products to all computer makers contrary to Apple.
        • good points...

          It is risky if it is a full on 'trojan' but it could also just be a 'blocker' as well. Given the market segment it is really aimed at is the 'i just don't wanna pay' crowd and the markets aren't really the first world nations then an 'almost good enough' experience could skate by while serving to fight off sales from 'true' android phones like the Moto E.

          Even if the whole thing is sold at or just below cost any sale that cuts off a sale from Google and provides an eventual path to their own stuff is a strategy businesses have been using for as long as there have been businesses.
          • How do you like them apples?

            I believe you are essentially correct. The X phone is an ill conceived strategy to head off prospective customers from adopting Google services. It however is a great distraction for MS. MS should be about creating value, and convincing users to opt for its product and services because of it - not getting into dog fights with Google that can blow up in its face. MS' newest generation products, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.x, don't make money for it or its partners the way they should. Instead of MS investing in this area - doing what it has to do to generate increasing amounts of wealth around Win 8 / WP 8.x for it and its partners - it gets side tracked by these idiotic projects.

            If MS really wanted to put the screws on Google, it would consider (in consultation with its lawyers) undermining the ability to make money from advertising in the browser, in the name of user privacy. It could then send the signal to Google, if you continue to undermine the value of software licensing, I will undermine the value of online advertising. If I was running MS, I would create a subscription ecosystem for content owners, and I would systematically devalue advertising on the web on PCs, and provide an escape for content owners onto the subscription network, and say to Google, "How do you like them apples?"
            P. Douglas
          • however is a great distraction for MS.....

            Since this was create when Microsoft Mobile was Nokia probably not , even then wp has been update on a regular basis
        • Windroid Strategy

          I will like to know where you get the information that Android phone have a better hardware I look at the spec for the Android and Nokia 520 and they are the same. Both use the same chip.

          Also, how will you get confuse? If you have and Android phone, you can tell the difference between an Android and a Windows phone. No confusion there. The benefit for Microsoft is that you will be using Windows services. Just like Microsoft Office is on now available for Apple and Android. The OneDrive and Skype are the services that Microsoft wants people to use. No confusion there.

          Beside, people that buys Android buy them for price and the design of the phone and interface. They don't care who is behind it.
        • what?

          How is it s cheap knock off when it has better hardware and a abetter os? Its actually an upgraded phone at a much lower price then any windows phone.
          • better os

            Better OS is debatable and really a personal choice
        • Only if MS is totally incompetent.

          There shouldn't be any significant difference.
      • what

        Android is suited for the low end? Have you ever used a flagship android phone? Android runs its best on flagship devices.