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Nokia Branches Out from Windows With Android-based Phones

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 14 comments

Nokia takes its first tentative step into the world of Android.

Surprisingly, the focus of Nokia’s press conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona wasn’t a Lumia. In fact, the Lumia line didn’t feature much at all during the presentation. It did get a couple of name drops when Nokia announced the new X family of smartphones.

The Nokia X, X+ and XL all feature a tile-like interface inspired by the Lumia line, which runs on Windows Phone. However, these are Nokia’s first Android-powered devices. They’re probably not as Android as you might like, though, as Nokia has used the Android Open Source Project to create its own custom version of the Android software stack called Nokia X. This means these devices can run Android apps, but you won’t be able to access the Google Play Store.

The Nokia X is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 processor cocked to 1 GHz and features 512 MB of RAM with 4 GB of on board storage (expandable to 32 GB via MicroSD. The WVGA display measures 4 inches in size and has an 800 x 480 resolution for 233 ppi. There’s also a 3-megapixel camera, dual-SIM support (MicroSIM), WiFi, and Bluetooth 3.0. The 1500 mAh battery is good for about 10.5 hours of talk time on 3G or 17 days of stand by. The Nokia X+ is basically the same phone, but it has some extra RAM (768 MB) and comes with a 4 GB memory card on top of the 4 GB integrated storage. 


The Nokia XL is the bigger brother but it’s not really ‘XL’ as far as today’s phones are concerned. It packs a 5-inch display (again, WVGA, 800 x 480) with 187 ppi, the same dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor clocked to 1 GHz, 768 MB of RAM, 4 GB of internal storage (expandable to 32 GB via MicroSD), a 5-megapixel camera in the back, a 2-megapixel camera in the front, dual-SIM support, Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi and a 2,000 mAh battery that’s good for 13 hours of 3G talk time or 30 days of dual-SIM stand by.

Given the specs, you don’t need us to tell you that these aren’t high-end phones. Indeed, despite the Android-based OS, Nokia is pitching the X family as a way to offer consumers affordable access to Microsoft services. The Nokia X will cost €89 and is available immediately in Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. The Nokia X+ and Nokia XL are coming in Q2 and will cost €99 and €109 respectively.

Stay tuned for hands on from the show floor. We can’t wait to sink our teeth into this new Nokia-flavored Android.

Check out all our Mobile World Congress 2014 coverage here!

Follow Jane McEntegart @JaneMcEntegart. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • -2 Hide
    houldendub , February 24, 2014 2:05 AM
    Shame, the mainstream high end could of done with something other than the iPhone and Galaxy S range. I guess Microsoft's contempt with not being the best.
  • 0 Hide
    rwinches , February 24, 2014 2:13 AM
    I get that this is the MWC, but what is the point of bringing out old tech phones at a already overcrowded low-end price point?

    Oh Yeah, and did I mention the crappy tile Android interface, that's already been done and better by Sammy, Chameleon and even Polaroid?
  • 3 Hide
    I Hate Nvidia , February 24, 2014 2:14 AM
    I think this is a pretty smart move by MS/Nokia ,they will get rid of the aging and money consuming Symbian all together ,and replace it at the low end with android to cut down cost of developing the software so they can sell thier phones cheaper and/or gain a higher prophit margin , and easy porting of android apps fortify this move by not demanding develoers to develop apps for a low end phone with tight margins.Still they don't make such move in the high end where the cash really is ,so will not alienate hardcore WIN Phone /Nokia fans.
  • Display all 14 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    Nolonar , February 24, 2014 3:02 AM
    After I've seen what my Windows Phone 8 Lumia can do, I don't want to go back to Android (not any time soon, at least).

    Microsoft has come a long way since crappy Windows Mobile and it's all thanks to Google and Apple.
    Now, if only Windows Phone gains a somewhat significant market share (let's say 20%), then we can expect Apple and Google to do some really impressive work.

    Oh, I just LOVE competition. Fanboys can go to hell.
  • 0 Hide
    MTWSD , February 24, 2014 3:03 AM
    So if it can't access the Play Store, what exactly does that mean? Can you still run regular android apps, and if so how would you get them on the phone?I'm not very knowledgeable about the android platform, I'm a WP user.
  • 2 Hide
    Bloob , February 24, 2014 3:07 AM
    So if it can't access the Play Store, what exactly does that mean? Can you still run regular android apps, and if so how would you get them on the phone?I'm not very knowledgeable about the android platform, I'm a WP user.
    It has third party app stores pre-installed, and you can install more of them. You can also install apks from the file manager. Shouldn't be difficult to get Play there too.
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , February 24, 2014 7:36 AM
    Shame, the mainstream high end could of done with something other than the iPhone and Galaxy S range. I guess Microsoft's contempt with not being the best.
    The last thing people need is another high-end expensive device. Phones are already so overpowered on the hardware-end, new devices are coming out with no real advantage over older devices because the software and services haven't advanced. My LG Optimus G is still overkill on the hardware performance end, nothing that has come out since (or is rumored to come out).I'm not saying I'd like to go backwards in terms of performance spec's--but the low-mid end can benefit from a great phone maker like Nokia--assuming they did it right (not being full-fledged android makes me wary, given how I did not like how Amazon's FireOS works out).
  • 0 Hide
    edwd2 , February 24, 2014 7:42 AM
    really, why the ugly tiles again? it's visually displeasing and inconvenient to browse through.
  • 0 Hide
    belardo , February 24, 2014 7:57 AM
    Just like the first Nokia lumias... outdated hardware. I get the low end target... but there are other low end phones with same or Bette specs. Also, its not like Nokia has to BUY wp8. This is not how you grow your platform and I think this tells developers to not brother with WP8/9... and since RT is dead... that leaves a full blown windows OS from MS. What a mess. BTW, those with android can experience WP8 by downloading Launcher 8. Its actually a bit better than wp8 as it has more customize features and function. Like individual tile color, tile landscape rotation which is slick.
  • 0 Hide
    JD88 , February 24, 2014 8:38 AM
    I find this to be humorous and ironic considering Elop and Ballmer have been saying for nearly two years that Android is much worse than Windows Phone on low end devices, and now they turn around and release this. To reinforce the matter, they aren't going to heavily market it as an "Android" device so clearly it's not a marketing issue. Is Nokia admitting sticking with Windows Phone exclusively was a fail? Did it turn out that Windows Phone wasn't so great on the low end after all? What's going on here?
  • 0 Hide
    hannibal , February 24, 2014 10:54 AM
    This was developed before MS deal. But interesting choise indeed. This was planned before the MS made an announce that wp8 could be even free... But if it is not free, it is more than something. It is all about cost!
  • 0 Hide
    Murissokah , February 24, 2014 12:00 PM
    These phones do not make sense to me. Nokia phones should either use Microsoft solutions entirely or embrace Android completely. It could certainly fight in both arenas, but a phone that is neither Windows Phone nor fully-fledged Android (no support for google services and play) will probably end up with little significance. A shame, as Nokia designs great phones and could easily rival the Android competition.
  • 1 Hide
    Azn Cracker , February 24, 2014 7:34 PM
    No play store? Does that mean the app selection will be crap? If so a lot of people won't even consider this. Had a lumia before. Got rid of it because of the lack of apps I needed and some minor quirks. I really liked the live tiles though because it efficiently used all the space on the screen and was also live.
  • 0 Hide
    azz156 , February 25, 2014 4:49 AM
    geez whats up with all the readers on toms lately, these are not android phones, these are asop phones like what amazon did or what you call it a "forked android" with Microsoft and nokia filling in the gaps left by the lack of google services. its just a cheap phone to Trojan horse Microsoft/Nokia (aka one drive, here maps etc) services into the android ecosystem. the whole back end of this forked android is completely controlled by Microsoft.still as a windows phone fan I'm a bit puzzled as to why they did this since the Lumia 520 is $99, but if it sells then Microsoft and Nokia will make money.