When Motorola handsets ruled the New World, Nokia ruled the Old and unfortunately, Nokia also fell from grace. The business made a number of strategic errors that can be simply expressed as, “burying their heads in the sand.” However, Microsoft and Nokia teamed up to bring us the Nokia Lumia range of smartphones, powered by Windows Phone. And in some Android circles, users longed for Nokia’s design and optics combined with Google’s operating system. For a long time, it didn’t happen… until Nokia announced the Nokia X, an Android-powered device. When details emerged, it was revealed that the X was designed for the emerging markets with a cut down specification, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and an almost complete lack of Google Services. Here was a device that looked a bit like Windows Phone, running Android. Since then, Microsoft have bought Nokia’s mobile devices and we thought that there would be no more dalliance with Android… but we were wrong! Back in June, Microsoft announced the Nokia X2, a more powerful Android-based device.
The original Nokia X did not have a great set of specifications, but entry level handsets for the developing market are not about specifications. It used a dual core 1.0 GHz Qualcomm processor optimized for low power consumption, 512 MB of memory and a 4.0-inch, 800 by 480 pixel display. It also ran Android 4.1 Jelly Bean under Microsoft’s Windows Phone-like interface. Initial sales figures were strong, but it seems clear that Microsoft were not satisfied with the X and the X2 quickly followed. This is an upgraded version of the X with improvements to the processor, screen, camera and battery. The X2 has a 1.2 GHz dual core Snapdragon processor with 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of internal storage plus a MicroSD card slot. The screen is enlarged to 4.3-inch but more importantly, it uses Nokia’s clever ClearBlack technology and at a higher resolution of 800 by 640 pixels. The rear camera is upgraded to 5 MP and a VGA 0.3 MP front camera is added. The battery capacity is increased by 20% to 1,800 mAh. Nokia also updated the interface with several improvements derived from Windows Phone and built over Android 4.3 rather than Android 4.1. It’s hard to pick out the biggest differences between the X2 and the original as Nokia improved the handset in every respect.
Now Microsoft have announced that the dual-SIM Nokia X2 is to be sold in India at a price of Rs 8,699, around £90 or $145. It’ll be available in glossy orange, black and green: glossy yellow, white, matte dark grey colours are coming later this year. The price point puts the X2 straight into Android One territory but Microsoft have a couple of secret weapons to help. The first is that they’ve teamed up with Airtel to give users free unlimited downloads of Android applications for six months with up to 500 MB of data usage. X2 buyers will also benefit from 15 GB OneDrive cloud storage plus immediate access to Microsoft’s core applications, these being Outlook.com, Skype, Mix Radio and Here Maps. OneNote and Yammer will be easily available from the Nokia Store. It’s clear that the X2 is a product to showcase Microsoft’s applications and services and the link with Android is weak fresh from the factory. It’s also a way to gain mindshare with consumers by offering Microsoft solutions and a credit to how flexible Android is in allowing businesses to remove the Google Services and replace with another. Competition and variety is a good thing; devices such as the Nokia X2 should help highlight Android One and of course, provide people with a choice. But let AndroidHeadlines know what you think in the comments below or on your favourite social network.