Nokia X: preview

25 February 2014

It’s hard to admit when you were wrong. Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and admit it: we should have gone with Android.

Not that we are saying this is what Nokia is doing by releasing a trio of budget-focused Android phones. Well, actually we are. Though Nokia has enjoyed some success with its Lumia range, we can only imagine the heady heights it could have achieved by taking on Samsung head-to-head.

You might think that we will finally get to see this battle play out, now that Nokia has released the Android-powered Nokia X, but it’s not really the same thing. The Nokia X is designed with a very specific customer in mind, and it is not the same people queuing up to buy a Galaxy S5 or a Galaxy Note 3. Nokia calls these people ‘the next billion’ — they are people who may not have had a reliable connection to the internet before, and Nokia is hoping to get them online for about $100.

To do this, the Nokia X is built with cheaper, lower-spec components, including a dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm processor and a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera. It has 3G WCDMA connectivity with dual-band radios (900/2100MHz), although this might be tweaked for local networks depending on availability.

Android dreaming

Though officially Nokia is calling the operating system the ‘Nokia X Platform’, it is software built on the Android Open Source Platform (AOSP), which means that you will be able to install most Android apps on these phones.

Nokia will have its own store front for downloads, but you will be free to install third-party stores, like the Amazon App Store or 1Mobile. With the exception of Google services, you will have access to the vast majority of apps — though you might not find the X powerful enough to run them all.

No Google apps may sound like a deal-breaker, but Nokia does have a good range of its own services to cover most bases. Mapping is provided by Here Maps and Here Drive (the same as on Lumia phones), there is Outlook for email and Microsoft OneDrive for storage rather than Google Drive.

Pricing and availability

Nokia is making the Nokia X available for a recommended price of 89 Euro, or about $120. Of course, this is the official price, and you should soon find it even cheaper on store shelves.

It is being advertised as being available in Asia Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle-East and Africa immediately, but there is no details yet about specific countries or time-frames.

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