Microsoft: Nokia's Android X2 experiment ends, enter Windows Phone

Microsoft: Nokia's Android X2 experiment ends, enter Windows Phone

Summary: Nokia's Android experiment was fun while it lasted. Microsoft's Stephen Elop says: 'We plan to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices.'

Nokia X isn't the fast lane to Android apps after all.

Microsoft's smartphone experiment with Android has come to an end.

Mary Jo Foley: Microsoft layoffs of 18,000 employees begin

Nokia's X smartphone line got a passing mention in Stephen Elop's memo to the troops about Microsoft's 18,000 job restructuring on Thursday. The upshot: Microsoft allowed Nokia to develop Android phones for emerging markets, recruited developers, and launched a second version of the devices even though it most likely knew the shelf life was short.

Why fake the Android interest?

Here's what Elop, executive vice president of Microsoft's devices unit, said in his memo:

We will be particularly focused on making the market for Windows Phone. In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest growing segments of the market, with Lumia. In addition to the portfolio already planned, we plan to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices. We expect to make this shift immediately while continuing to sell and support existing Nokia X products.

In other words, Nokia X phones are basically a collector's item. Say what you will about Microsoft's handling of the Kin phone, which crashed quickly, but the company did pull the rip cord early.

Elop continued to note in his memo that Microsoft and Nokia will be more high-end focused. He said:

We expect these changes to have an impact to our team structure. With our focus, we plan to consolidate the former Smart Devices and Mobile Phones business units into one phone business unit that is responsible for all of our phone efforts. Under the plan, the phone business unit will be led by Jo Harlow with key members from both the Smart Devices and Mobile Phones teams in the management team. This team will be responsible for the success of our Lumia products, the transition of select future Nokia X products to Lumia and for the ongoing operation of the first phone business.

CNET Review: Nokia X disappoints

The Nokia move to launch an Android-yet-Windows skinned phone was interesting — if not completely nutty — but you had to see this move coming. Microsoft didn't buy Nokia to give Android a lift. However, the big question here is whether Microsoft's platform can gain traction in emerging markets where Android plays well. We're about to find out. Microsoft will have to play the low-end of the market if it wants customers to ultimately trade up to those high-end Lumias.


Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Smartphones

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Thought So

    Android is no savior.
    Sean Foley
    • And

      Microsoft couldn't legally tell Nokia what to do with Android on their devices until after the deal was completed.

      Given the long devlopment cycle for new phones, including getting FCC approval etc. the devices were probably started before the merger and although Microsoft might have been able to hint to Nokia that it was possibly a short lived dream, they couldn't tell them to stop mucking around with a platform they would drop at the earliest opportunity, once the deal was completed.
      • Lots of less than legal things happen behind the scenes

        The usual maxim in law is that if you can't prove it, then it didn't happen.
        John L. Ries
      • Nokia never used Android, they used Symbian

        Most of the article is utter rubbish, because the journalist seem to believe that Nokia used Android. Had he bothered to access the Nokia site, we would have avoided this.

        Symbian is an OS, owned by the Symbian Foundation, that was at a time owned in full by Nokia. It is now a separate legal entity, and maintenance is with Accenture on the highly profitable platform.
        All the Nokia Intellectual Property was taken out of the MS deal, so MS has just a limited "right to use" (10 years at the time of entering into the contract, probably around 5 left).

        Symbian is also POSIX compliant like Linux, and powers all the handsets that has been sold with some volume, except for the N900 and N9 that use Linux - Debian, N9 even KDE. None use Android.
        • no, you are wrong

          The Nokia X phones use the Nokia X platform. The Nokia X platform is customized platform built on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).


          The big difference is the interface mimics the windows tile interface, so it looks like a windows phone although it is Android based phone.
        • Take Your Own Advice

          Maybe you should visit the Nokia site and do basic search about Nokia X phones and the platform they run on. Within seconds I found above link and also the Wikipedia entry below.

    • the android part was invisible to the end user

      so there was no point. If anything, its sensible to just focus on windows phone, but it still isn't going anywhere. I think they should have dropped windows phone too, to be honest.
    • Nokia did not use Android

      - so what?

      They used Symbian, that was made by Psion in the UK. With Symbian they produced and sold very sucessfully Smartphones a decade before the iPhone (Nokia Communicator is Symbian S80). It had all the components of a Smartphone, email, browser, text-processing embedded, spreadsheet, database and other "apps" could be downloaded and installed against payment. It was fast and reliable (compared to the iPhone and Android) - and was powered with a battery that made it last for a week. But some models were big and bulky - well comparable with an 5" today.
  • Microsoft: Nokia's Android X2 experiment ends, enter Windows Phone

    Thank goodness. This was expected to happen from Microsoft. The only reason they had an android phone was because it was already developed when they bought Nokia. No reason for Microsoft to support android when Microsoft Windows Phone works much better and doesn't suffer the app freezes and random reboots that android does. Now with more resources going to Microsoft Windows Phone its going to be interesting to see what they come up with next.
    • windows phone

      No, I just get Apps that close on their own, a lack of app quality, an a lack of apps in general. Don't get me wrong, I would not give my windows phone up for an android or iPhone, but still windows phones do have their issues
      Mama Duck
    • @Loverock yes thank goodness

      now "android" won't have to be blamed for the malware problems which would come from Nokia X users that have to sideload crap apps because there's no google play store access.

      And stop lying about "android" reboots and freezes. You know its specific to the particular phone. The nexus 5 never reboots, its rock solid. How about those surface tablets that still can't fix the wifi problems, and crashes, a platform where they control both SW and HW? I don't think you should be criticizing other OSs.
      • Yeah, now Android users will have to blame the malware problem

        Facts are facts, Android dominates the mobile malware problem with something like 97% of all malware in existence and there is no reliable method to deliver security updates, bug fixes or even decent malware defense on the phones themselves.

        As for your claims of the nexus 5 being rock solid and without problem...!bg1PZZ
        • Malware on Android

          No virus can be installed on Android.
          It is just impossible. This is an OS that the entire Internet is based on, and should it fail, not only will Facebook, Google, Apple and the rest collapse, your Internet router will also stop.

          Nexus may have problems with stupid users. It is fully possible to crush any phone with a big enough hammer. And it is fully possible to upload and install software that does things that you do not like - such as erasing all files. But should we stop the sale of hammers, or try to educate silly sodds?
      • Again?

        So this is the second line of phones that Redmond has bought and killed within months of launch, leaving early suckers in the lurch.

        Perhaps the third time will be the charm.
  • Love Love Love my Lumia 635!!!

    Currently Battery Testing the Wifi Calling / Browsing capabilities. I played Halo: Spartan Assault on it projected wirelessly to my 73" TV last night. Not XBox One style graphics but I appreciated the experience all the same. If I wanted a cheap Netflix / Hulu Plus device, I'd grab a Miracast TV Hookup and a Lumia 635. No codes to plug in or anything. I love the devices hub! Gets me excited seeing all the devices around me that I could jack into once apps come out. I'm getting a class 10 micro sd so I can install my apps (up to 128 gb). Very excited! Kept running out of room on my 16 gb Lumia 925. Uninstall / Reinstall garbage. So excited for the future of Windows Phone!
  • Article: "Nokia X phones are basically a collector's item"

    As was the Nokia N9 with MeeGo, with its very limited disribution. I also suspect that the N9 was a much better smartphone than the X.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • The N9 runs Linux KDE

      MeeGo is a linux project between Nokia and Intel and Samsung.

      The N9 outsold all the MS phones that Nokia tried to place on the market (as did the N900 with Maemo), so when MS with Elop tried to terminate it, the developers left and formed "Jolla" that made Sailfish - a new Debian Linux Distribution, but this time, it will also run Android apps.

      Nokia has never sold a single Android phone. this is incompetence with the journalists, they should know how to write and verify and confirm before they publish.
      • Really

        Do research about Nokia X before posting wrong information. Nokia definitely did use Android for the Nokia X line.

  • A trojan horse that didn't work.

    LOL...I don't understand where Elop is saying that Windows Phone is fastest growing market. Is he talking about the percentage? That's like saying going from 1% to 2% is a 100% jump. LOL. Nobody is buying Windows Phone, because:

    1. It's only a phone. Is it a "smart" phone? If the phone went to school, it would be a "D" student. The phone doesn't do very much and everyone knows it. When you have phones that are casting it's content to the screen, taking heart rates, giving you search information without pressing a single button, controlling your TV and other appliances....THAT'S a SMART PHONE. The Lumia phones aren't too smart at all. Who wants that?

    2. The Nokia X was a severely under-powered phone using a severely bad ecosystem. The fate of the phone was sealed when Microsoft didn't even include the Google Play Store.

    3. The UI is so messy. The Metro tile system never clicked with mass consumers. The only people it can click to are Microsoft fans, particularly those who read blogs and website like this.

    The future of Windows Phone is very very bleak. The reason for this is going to be Microsoft's own product, OFFICE. Not only that, but....unless Microsoft hires some real innovators into their company, they will not experience any real momentum at all. When Microsoft released Windows Mobile, it didn't even run over Palm/Treo and it couldn't even touch Blackberry. What "did it" to Blackberry was the iPhone, that people got excited for. What "did it" to iPhone was the technological innovation between the partnerships of Google/Android and Motorola, Sony, Samsung, etc..... What did Microsoft do? What did they contribute? Nothing.

    If Microsoft thinks that they have the low-end market to themselves, then they are wrong. They would be entering into that market the same foolish way the Apple Mac did in the 80's. Motorola, Samsung, Sony, HTC, and many other Android platform phones will infiltrate it and make the Lumia forgettable. Add to the fact, that we are talking about Google and several mobile tech companies making news 24/7/365....the wind will always be on Android's back. Not the Lumia.
    • you obviously never tried and barely even read about Windows phones

      Windows phone does every one of those things you mentioned (except the inaccurate "heart measurements" some phones will give) but even that is coming to the new October lineup. You are must be one of those d students.