Nokia puts on green robot suit with Android

by Goh De No
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Some said it would never happen, while others believed that it would. It became apparent that Nokia would never have Android when it partnered with Windows to do Windows Phone 7, 7.5 and 8.

The impossible happened when Nokia launched Android on Monday at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress 2014 with three different handsets: X, X+ and XL.

Nokia hits the ground running with three of these lower cost handsets with the XL being the “flagship” device, if you want to call it that.


Nokia XL

The Nokia XL. Image courtesy of Nokia.

The XL is a five-inch Android smartphone with a five-megapixel rear camera and a front-facing two-megapixel camera. It has a 768MB RAM and 4GB of storage space.

The built of Nokia’s previous Windows Phone models is absolutely amazing, with its unibody polycarbonate and minimalistic design. And the XL, in typical Nokia fashion, will come in a range of colours such as green, yellow, orange, black and white.

It has an extremely attractive price tag, which means that you won’t get a premium device, making the design and built just a little bit misleading.

The screen has just a 480×800 resolution, with a slower Qualcomm Snapdragon 8225 dual-core chip clocked at 1GHz maximum, and 32GB of storage space with an expandable slot.


Nokia X+/X

The Nokia X+ and X. Image courtesy of Nokia.

The X+’s price of €99 ($190) sits in between the Nokia X (€89) and XL (€109). The body looks just like the 4-inch version of the lower-end Nokia Asha 503 line.

In other words, this means there is a polycarbonate body that feels extremely well- built in your hands. The phone is just 10.4mm thin, comes equipped with a 768MB RAM and ships with a free 4GB microSD card in its expandable slot.

The Nokia X, on the other hand, is pretty much what you pay for: a four-inch IPS LCD screen at just 800×480 resolution with a three-megapixel rear camera, a 1GHz dual-core processor.

The attractive part about this version is the 4GB storage and an expandable microSD card slot of up to 32GB.

However, the X has just 512MB of RAM.

What’s also strange is that this Android phone comes in 4.1.2 (Jellybean) but doesn’t have any preloaded Google apps.


Nokia Software

This is the most confusing part, as Nokia’s version of Android looks surprisingly like Windows Phone’s interface.

The Nokia X has a unique feature called “Fastlane”, which is the Nokia version of the notification menu and favourite applica- tions.

The keyboard is Nokia-designed, and very similar to the open-source N9. It includes a swyping gesture like Swype/SwiftKey on Android.

However, there are no Google apps in- stalled, which means there is no Play Store. That leads you to the Nokia Store, which is preloaded.

This Nokia Store is supposedly full of Android applications, but fear not, you can side-load an Android application package file (APK) to the phone, which is part of the beauty of an open-source operating system like Android.

So think of the Nokia X-series as preloaded with a launcher (I am guessing Nova Launcher will make it something you will be used to seeing).

What’s also good is that you get Android apps from Google, and you get some apps from Microsoft, which may be insignificant now, but in a way it’s still the best of both worlds.

The three Android-powered Nokia phones released by Nokia. Image courtesy of Nokia.


Initial thoughts

The Nokia X series name is not the best. When you think Android and X, you think of the Moto X now instead of Nokia. However, I really like budget phones, and I really love budget phones that get the job done.

Nokia is great at making phones with low-specs that come with almost no lag. It’s really surprising when you look at the spec-sheet versus the real-world usage.

Nokia’s Chief Executive Stephen Elop be-lieves that the family of X phones is complementary to Windows Phone due to its lower price points.

That is definitely the case from Nokia, but it now faces stiff competition in the low-cost Android segment.

What I can’t wait for is the high-end Nokia Android device. Preferably one that comes with Nokia’s PureView camera technology.


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