Updated Android-based Nokia X phones from Microsoft due next week?

Updated Android-based Nokia X phones from Microsoft due next week?

Summary: It's looking increasingly likely that Microsoft plans to launch its second-generation Android-based Nokia X phones early next week.


It's increasingly looking like the rumored second-generation Android-based Nokia X phones may be announced on June 24.


A June 20 teaser on the Microsoft-run Nokia Conversations blog, entitled "Green With Envy," points to some kind of launch happening four days away. As The Verge noted, Nokia used green ducks to teas the original Nokia X announcement.

Rumors dating back to early this year indicated that a second-generation of the Nokia X family was in development. Allegedly the new phones will offer larger displays, better rear-facing cameras and snappier performance. 

Nokia X phones run on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version of Android. Specifically, the Nokia X platform includes the Linux kernel, the open source pieces of Android (Dalvik, general open-source Android libraries and the application framework), extensions that Nokia has made to that framework, and Nokia application programming interfaces (APIs) that Nokia built to replace Google Play store APIs.

Nokia built APIs for maps, push notifications and in-app billing that replace Google's comparable APIs. And Microsoft (and its Mobile/Nokia arm) developed versions of some of its key apps and services, including Skype, Outlook.com, OneDrive and Nokia Camera. Nokia X users can download more Android apps from the Nokia Store.

Microsoft officials are continuing to insist that offering Android-based phones is a way to attract a set of users to Microsoft's ecosystem, rather than a way to compete with its own Windows Phones.

A related aside: I've seem some speculating that Microsoft is planning some kind of a Windows Phone launch on or around June 24, which, presumably, would be for Windows Phone 8.1. This is not happening, according to my sources.

Microsoft released to manufacturing the Windows Phone 8.1 bits in early April and has updated them a few times since. Users who are willing to register as developers have been able to get the Windows Phone 8.1 bits on their Windows 8 handsets since April. The next milestone for Windows Phone will be when carriers begin pushing the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system and related firmware to users, which is expected to start happening "in the coming weeks."

Microsoft's updating of its lifecycle support page to indicate a June 24 "start date" for Windows Phone 8.1 didn't mean that this was an exact date as to when over-the-air updates would start going out. The dates as to when users will get the Windows Phone 8.1 bits pushed to them by carriers is controlled by the carriers, not Microsoft.

Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 is rumored to be coming later this summer/early fall. It is expected to include new 3D gesturing technology that will allow users to hover over tiles and apps to interact with them. I believe users will need new hardware in order to make use of this capability, however.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Nokia, Windows Phone


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • why can't they offer the cheap windows phone that everyone claims is

    better on low end devices.
    What is it that they need an android core, with no sign of android as far as what that would mean to the end-user, i.e. google store, apps, etc.

    I assume the idea is that they can leverage android apps that can be hosted on a nokia store, that windows phone doesn't have. Am I correct? I had heard that nokia had already taken apps and loaded them into their store, then notified the developers after. Is the windows store really that barren?
    • thinking further...

      that would be amusing if the plan worked and people started with this "gateway" nokia X phone, liked it, and then MS talked them into trading up to an authentic windows phone only to discover all the apps they were using were not available anymore.
      • "All the apps?"

        Nobody cares that Nokia is building a phone based on AOSP. They care whether they can get their favorite Android apps. By Nokia eliminating that with their own store, there'll be no apps unless devs submit theirs. Another joke really.
    • Quite possibly it makes the device too expensive.

      This is speculation now - It is possible that using the NT base requires more memory, or a faster CPU - either would make the unit cost more. This expanded need would not necessarily be due to the kernel alone - but also the runtime and applications for the rest of WP8.
      • They say the windows phone OS is relatively light on resources

        That's probably similar to how windows 95 for example was. I remember it was running quite well on a 25Mhz 486 cpu with 8MB RAM. But that was because it was a more of a "bare metal" operating system. It didn't have a proper virtual memory, drivers, kernel mode support etc. (and no networking and USB stacks at the time).

        So thats why when I used it at work, half way through the day, the desktop icons would start turning grey and run out of system resources and crash or flake out so you had to reboot a couple times a day.

        I assume various similar hacks were made for efficencies' sake, since they control all the software.

        Its probably harder to get windows phone running on a wider range of hardware that they didn't spec out. This is similar to apple who only has to run their code on hardware they control.
        • windows 95 vs NT

          windows NT ran even better on the same hardware. it did have slightly higher memory requirements but unlike windows 95 it rarely had any issues with memory and could easily run for days or even weeks without any issues. according to wikipedia NT 3.5 required at least 12 MB or RAM. even the cheapest phone nowadays has 20x that.

          also NT never had any particular issues running on other CPU architectures. in the same year 1995 we ran NT with SQL Server on it on a Digital Alpha. MIPS CPUs were supported as well.
          • In theory it was supposed to be better...

            But you still had to reboot it frequently just to keep its memory leaks under control. And then there were the various counters that would overflow...
          • NT memory leaks?

            At one workplace in the late 90s we had an NT 4 server up and running 24/7 for over a year - eventually it started slowing down and eventually the cause was a burnt out DMA chip on the main board. All the companies NT servers ran for months or years with no OS problems.
          • Simple example...

            LAX - system failed because they didn't reboot it...

            Windows for Warships... single failure took out the entire ship.. and couldn't even reboot.
        • You are thinking of Android

          The Lumia 520 is a 1GHz dual core snapdragon with 512mb memory... And runs smoother than an Android phone with higher specs...

          The core is the Win8 kernel (the same one used in Windows 8 embedded).
      • your thinking of crapdroid

        The Lumia 520 is a 1GHz dual core snapdragon with 512mb memory... And runs smoother than an Android phone with higher specs...

        The core is the Win8 kernel (the same one used in Windows 8 embedded).
        • You can call things by their right names...

          ...without in any way signifying approval of them. Namecalling just makes you look like a mindless partisan.
          John L. Ries
          • Ok

            Make that lagdroid.
          • I don't mind.

            Users of names like Crapple, Linsux, Windoze, Crapdroid, M$, etc. are a quick way for me to tell that person's opinions are not driven by any facts, and as such, can be summarily dismissed.
          • meh

            I have alternative names for stuff I use and like as well like IE being internet exploder and so forth :)
          • @ aesonaus

            You might want to check the spelling of your name - seems you might have a couple of letters the wrong way round.....
            The Central Scrutinizer
      • But most Windows Phone 8 devices have less horsepower.

        I'm running WP8.1 on a Nokia 520 with only 512MB of ram, a 1 GHz Dual-core processor and it performs quite well. The X devices have more processing power/ram.
      • Allegedly

        WP8 is much more spritely on the same hardware than Android, so "needing" Android as a base on low end hardware doesn't make much sense.

        More likely is that the program was started at a time when they had to pay for WP8 licences and Android is free/cheaper (after paying the MS patent levy). So it gets onto the MS services platform and it is easier to upsell them on a full Windows Phone next time round.

        With the licensing now being more-or-less free, I could see this being the last iteration of the X series. It just doesn't make much sense.
    • Ecosystem Brigde

      As has been stated a number of times, Microsoft wants to be a device and service company. So in that context I make sense to have your services on as many devices as possible. So this has nothing to do with Microsoft's windows store; it about get users to use and maybe even subscribe to their services. Now if you want a pure windows experience you can have it with Windows 8.1, windows phone and Windows RT and they will happily sell you a phone or computer with running their OS. But if you just want to use their services you have that option available and they will happily let you do so. Also you analysis is flawed; how does it adding apps to a android based phone OS benefit the windows store? It doesn't as there isn't any crossover between the two. You can't port a Android app to windows store without making changes. Now if your already an Android user moving over to this phone should be a easier transition as you will still be able to use some of the same application that you use on your other android device.
    • Lumia 5xx series

      They have only been around for a year or two so it's probably about time you caught up...

      The 5 series phones are the low end cheap Windows Phones. Here in Australia they were $170 outright and the 520 is now around $140 outright.