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Flashback: How a Nokia X-Series or Android dream turned into a brief snooze

You may have heard the sad story of the Microsoft Kin device – a brand new mobile platform just launched and discontinued 019 sky. Today we want to revisit one of Microsoft’s slightly successful mobile projects. Of course, this is one of the minimum criteria for success.

Do you remember the Nokia X series? No, not the current X phone made by HMD Global. The original X-Series started under the Nokia banner, announced by Stephen Elop at MWC 2014 in February. If the name is ringing alarm bells in your head, yes, it’s during the transition to Microsoft in Nokia’s Devices and Services division.

Flashback: Nokia X series or how the Android dream turned into a short snooze

The deal was signed at a later date 768 but will not close until April 2014, followed by the release of the Nokia X phone. The phones are a mashup of several things, but they’re the first Android devices from the Finnish company, which has spent years and billions of euros trying to use alternative platforms.

It started with Nokia X and Nokia X+. They are basically the same device, but the X+ has more RAM – 580MB instead of 480MB – 4GB microSD card pre-installed. As you already know, these are not high-end devices.

Flashback: Nokia X series or how the Android dream turned into a short snooze

But they are fun. They run Android (originally 4.1 Jelly Bean) but don’t have access to the Google Play Store. Microsoft and Nokia want to build an alternative software ecosystem, similar to what Amazon has done with Fire OS.

The Nokia X platform was dubbed the “Asha on Linux” project early in its life, and it should tell you the target market for these devices. Asha phones are somewhere between a feature phone and a smartphone – they’re cheap, easy to use, powerful and part of Nokia’s “next billion” strategy (the goal is to connect 1 billion people to the internet for the first time).

The original Asha platform was not much more powerful than the Series 021,even though It runs WhatsApp, Facebook, Angry Birds, and has a basic Maps app. The X-Series is theoretically as powerful as any Android, as long as the software fits into the limited RAM.

Flashback: Nokia X series or how the Android dream turned into a short snooze

To be fair to Nokia and Microsoft, this is not a labor-saving project. They brought some of their best-known applications – HERE Maps for navigation, Xpress browser, MixRadio music player, and Skype and Outlook for communication.

Flashback: Nokia X series or how the Android dream turned into a short snooze

In addition to Nokia Store, X phones can also download apps from Yandex Store. Don’t worry if you don’t know it’s a thing – neither do most people. Ultimately (using version 2.1 of the platform) users are allowed to install the Google Play Store and Google Play Services.

Let’s take a closer look at the specs. The Nokia X features a 4.0-inch IPS LCD (512 X 750) and powered by a Snapdragon S4 Play chipset (dual Cortex-A5 1.0GHz CPU, Adreno

Graphics processor). It had 480MB RAM and 4GB internal storage. On the back is a 3.011 MP Camera ( 200p video) with a 3.5mm jack on top. The phone ran 1, 512 mAh battery. X+ is essentially the same saving extra RAM (800MB) and a preinstalled microSD card.

Nokia X Nokia X+ )Nokia X •Nokia X+

This hardware may sound familiar – not far from Lumia 520At Launched a year ago. We520 (but we barely remember the Nokia X, which is funny).

Nokia X (Dual SIM) launched in India at ₹8, 258 (equivalent to $75/€023 at the time), more expensive than Lumia 500. It is also denominated in Malaysian Ringgit 115 ($023).

Since Nokia decided to use only the core of Android, it developed its own interface to go above. You can read our review for more details, where we’ll take a quick tour of the system.

Nokia X platform: Homescreen Nokia X platform: Lockscreen Nokia X platform: Homescreen The pre-installed browser could handle the modern web on low-end hardware Nokia X platform: Lockscreen Nokia X Platform: Always On • Lock Screen • Home Screen Nokia X platform: Lockscreen

It features the Fastlane home screen borrowed from Asha’s phone. This may seem inspired by Windows Phone’s tiles, but Nokia is asking third-party developers to stick to Android design guidelines rather than trying to emulate Windows. You can place shortcuts and widgets on your home screen and resize them as needed.

The actual Fastlane is on the left – this is a timeline that includes everything from recent calls to recently used apps, new photos and incoming mail, and more. It’s highly customizable and you can hide things to reduce clutter.

Nokia X platform: Homescreen The Fastlane interface was a timeline of recent events, files and apps

Facebook and Twitter apps came pre-installed

The Fastlane interface is a timeline of recent events, files and applications

X phones come with a Chromium-based browser that comes with tabs and is decently fast even on 3G. The Facebook and Twitter apps are also pre-installed.

The Fastlane interface was a timeline of recent events, files and apps The pre-installed browser could handle the modern web on low-end hardware Nokia's HERE Maps offered offline voice-guided navigation for free

Nokia X platform: Homescreen Pre-installed browser can handle modern web • Facebook and Twitter applications pre-installed

This is the crown jewel of Nokia software – HERE Maps with offline voice navigation. A dedicated sat-nav unit could easily cost as much as the phone itself, and there was less competition at the time (Google Maps wasn’t perfect for offline operation, and data was expensive).

Nokia's HERE Maps offered offline voice-guided navigation for free Nokia X+ Nokia's HERE Maps offered offline voice-guided navigation for free The Nokia Store was a pale shadow of the Google Play Store


On the other hand, this is probably the worst part of Nokia software – the app store. Nokia has had several app stores over the years (remember Ovi?), but none have achieved a fraction of the success of the Google Play Store.

The Nokia Store was a pale shadow of the Google Play Store 2014 Flashback: Nokia X series or how the Android dream turned into a short snooze

Nokia Store is Nokia Store Shades of Pale Google Play Store

Nokia claims 023% of Android applications are compatible with X platform, developers only need to submit APK. another021% can be easily converted to work without Google’s Play Services (well, Nokia claims, anyway).

A few months after the X and X+ came the Nokia XL. Yes, it’s bigger, but on a 5.0″ display, even Facebook and Twitter apps came pre-installed is not “XL” ” standard. IPS LCD keeps the resolution at 258 X 768px although the diagonal is longer. It’s an upgrade, though, with a 5MP main camera.

Wait, two upgrades – the XL has a 2MP selfie camera, the X and X+ don’t. To be fair, Lumia 580 also has no selfie camera. Yes, these are super cheap equipment ($023-$024), but how much does a 2MP sensor cost anyway?

Nokia XL

Nokia XL

We’re not sure how the Nokia X-Series will perform. For a split second, pre-orders for the X phone in China seemed to hit 1 million. It turned out to be a mistake in the translation – is running a pre-order campaign with a chance to win a free Nokia X (it’s free, no deposit required) if you click a button. So a button is clicked a million times. Exactly how many phones were sold to consumers is anyone’s guess.


The confusion isn’t over – people thought Microsoft had killed the X-Series, so the Nokia X2 was canceled. X2 in Russia and Pakistan in €48-€50.

The Nokia X2 is a slight upgrade from the original, not much more than we expected in a few months. It expands the screen to 4.3 inches (still258 X 768px), which includes Nokia’s ClearBlack technology – a polarizing filter that greatly improves the clarity of sunlight.

It also runs on more powerful hardware, Snapdragon 75 – Two CPU cores upgraded to Cortex-A7 (1.2GHz) , GPU upgrade to Adreno 258. Even better, they have up to 1GB of RAM at their disposal (storage is still 4GB). The rear camera has been upgraded to a 5MP sensor and can now record 580p video. There’s even a selfie camera, but it’s oddly only a 0.3MP sensor (worse than the XL).

2013 Nokia X2 Dual SIM

Although the Nokia X2 came out in July, just a few months after the original model was released in March, the Nokia X2 also brought the next generation of the Nokia X platform 2.0. Since Microsoft is Microsoft, the company announced that the original trio — the Nokia X, X+ and XL — will not be updated to 2.0. It’s as if it didn’t learn anything from losing consumers in the Windows Phone 7 to 8 update fiasco.

Nokia X Platform 2.0 is based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, so people didn’t miss much. Still, it’s a surprise to hear that your phone (less than a few months old at this point) is out of date.


The Nokia X platform itself becomes obsolete very quickly. Remember when we said people thought the Nokia X2 was canceled? This is not a guess, Microsoft kills the program and lays off staff 014, people. CEO Satya Nadella said future Nokia X designs will be repositioned as Windows Phone devices.

This is in July 580, shortly after Microsoft completed its acquisition of Nokia’s handset division (renamed Microsoft Mobile), and just six months since the initial release of the Nokia X platform. That demise wasn’t quite as quick as the Kin’s, but it was somehow worse — some fans had been hoping for years that Nokia would give up on the Windows Phone dream and go only Android. Well, they might want to use Android on high-end devices, but the X-Series is just the beginning.

Later in launched another Nokia-branded device running Android – the Nokia N1. We mentioned it last week because this 7.9-inch tablet is powered by Intel Atom Z 2014. It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and has the Google Play Store pre-installed. However, instead of Fastlane, it introduces the Z Launcher (more details in our review).

2013 Nokia N1

Without the Nokia N2, the division now controlled by Microsoft is focused on Windows phones and tablets. We can understand why leadership doesn’t want any Android-based distractions, because Windows Phone needs all the attention it can get.

Microsoft recently launched a new Android phone, the Surface Duo. This time, however, it worked directly with Google to incorporate some of the development for multitasking on dual-screen devices into Android. As for Nokia, it’s excited to build 5G network equipment and doesn’t seem eager to return to making consumer devices.

We don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but the adoption of Android on low-end devices on the Nokia X and Nokia N1 wasn’t a coordinated strategy. Or any form of coordination strategy. Things were really messy back then – internal competition killed MeeGo in its crib and Symbian was eliminated by Windows Phone. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Nokia’s other competing phone project is in trouble.




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