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

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.

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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

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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24 comments
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  • Wise move.

    Looks like Microsoft are beginning the smell the coffee.

    This could be a winner for them.
    Heenan73
    • I agree

      Forget post PC and think post Windows Mobile. The heavily hyped MS mobile strategy isn't moving phones or tablets. A Device and Services strategy requires embracing the market leaders. That is why we have Office on the IPad and Android on Nokia.
      krossbow
    • A winner?

      Where in the report does it say they are adding Google Play, search, maps and Talk? Those are far more serious issues for this line of phones.
      symbolset
      • It doesn't.

        Just because it doesn't include some proprietary services and does include some others is no reason to say it is a loser.

        It is up to what is provided. If MS can deliver, fine. If not, it will fail.
        jessepollard
  • After killing Nokia...

    They do what Nokia could have been doing all along.
    jessepollard
    • Killing Nokia?

      Ha, they are laughing all the way to the bank.
      Best thing that could have happened to them.
      thekman58
      • Nokia could have kept their phone division...

        Had Elop not killed it.
        jessepollard
        • Kept it

          And continued to lose money with it.
          Michael Alan Goff
        • Errrr

          You know that all Microsoft bought was the phone division [and licensing patents] from Nokia and nothing else.
          Gisabun
  • This makes a lot of sense

    This makes perfect sense, because we all know Windows Phone cannot compete on devices in this price range. What's that? Windows Phone can? And it would require MS spend less resources and attention supporting a set of devices with a competitor's operating system? Well, it still makes sense. Why? Because MS says so.
    P. Douglas
    • Doesn't have to be an either/or

      Can be an and/also - they just have to make enough revenue to cover costs, after that, it's all gravy. (Of course, there's arguably an intangible cost associated with supporting Android - but with WinPhone sales where they are, hard to argue that's a big deal).
      daboochmeister
  • will faile

    nobody will buy M$ tainted knok offs
    LlNUX Geek
    • faile?

      Never heard of M$, must be something only in Linux...
      grayknight
    • Oh

      Grow up. Putz.
      Gisabun
  • Microsoft looks like it's working on a new Android smartphone, the Nokia X2

    I will be surprised if they do release an X2. If they do its only a gateway to get users on their services then switch them over to the more capable Microsoft Windows Phone.
    Loverock.Davidson
    • I sometimes envy you

      With all the notes you post like the above, about tablets, non-MS phones, Linux, etc., you must live in perpetual surprise. That must be nice, in a way!
      daboochmeister
    • OMG !!

      LOVECOCK IS ALIVE ! I was honestly worried about you bro, you ain't been on here much since Android kicked WP to the kerb, but Im glad the medication is working and it's good to see you back on here talking your usual trash.....normal service has been resumed :D oh BTW microsoft will be abandoning WP by the end of next year, I just hope the do the decent thing and bury it beside its next of "KIN" lol !
      Cuthbert2
  • Interesting to watch these compete against e.g. the Moto E

    Hard to see these doing well against better-specced Google-certified devices in the same price range (or even lower), like the Moto E. That space is going to be fleshed out with a number of phones real soon now.
    daboochmeister
    • Still scratching head

      It will be the perfect phone. It will be less than an Android phone, and less than a Windows Phone. Meaning that you will get a better experience on an Android phone, or a Windows phone, but the phone somehow makes sense.
      P. Douglas
  • I tell but the truth

    WP is a train wreck in (very) slow motion.....................
    Cuthbert2