Nokia Jumps Ship With First Android Phone: Welcome X

Marking the first product launch of MWC 2014, Nokia has announced a landmark product – its first Android device.

Announcing the X and X+ and its press conference, we weren’t surprised – merely due to the amount of leakage prior to the event. And whilst Nokia has been a strong member of the Windows Phone camp, it seems that mutiny is afoot. Smell that? Smells like Android, and you’re not wrong.

Nokia’s X, X+ and XL phones mark the companies first ever Android experience. If you told us a couple of years ago that Nokia would run Android, we’d have laughed at you – but now, the jokes on us.

Launching at a cost of  89 euros for the X, 99 euros for the X+and 109 euros for the XL, only a handful of features differ. Surprisingly only heading to growing markets – it might leave a few enthusiasts upset. Arriving in the second quarter, users can grab one in white, black, cyan, green, red and yellow. Meaning it will take a long time to decide on that new phone.

The insides? The X and X+ both include a 4 inch display and the XL a 5 inch display. The larger display features the same resolution, which means a lower PPI. Both featuring a 5MP rear facing camera and a 2MP front facing camera.

The X is basic, and this shows in the hardware. With only a 800×600 display and a 3MP rear facing camera, a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 1,500mAh removable battery, 4GB of internal storage, and a microSD expansion up to 32GB with 512MB of RAM. The X+ includes an extra 256MB RAM, and a 4GB card thrown in (how nice).

Most interestingly, this phone runs Android, making a change from the normal Windows Phone choice of OS. Nokia is shipping with a rather twisted version of Android 4.1.2, with very limiting controls. Using the standard Android Open Source Project, it’s Android – but it so isn’t. Users have no access to Google’s suite of services (such as the official Play Store, Gmail or other core apps.

Seeing as Nokia is running the show around here, none of the core apps that remain show any resemblance to their intended look. The clock has been copied from the N9 and a side menu added labelled ‘Fastlane’ – also from the N9. It sounds like madness – but Nokia has kept it clean.

Clearly Nokia isn’t ready for a clean break – Microsoft is still there in the background. The fact Nokia only offers a preselected store with Nokia approved apps, means that you won’t get the full Android experience. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the store, your stuffed.

In essence, it’s a copy of Android, but battered and bruised. Clearly price played a part in the decision, Nokia made a cheap phone. But for a clear audience.