Nokia will be launching the X smartphone at an event in Delhi tomorrow. The X is one of the three smartphones it had unveiled at the MWC last month running on a forked Android OS. Though Nokia had announced the X, X+ and XL at MWC, it is very likely that Nokia would launch the X and probably the X+ on Monday. The XL is likely to be launched sometime later this quarter. There is not much difference between the X and X+, with the X+ just having 768MB RAM over the X’s 512MB and it comes with a 4GB microSD card inside the box.
The Nokia X essentially runs on an Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version of Android, which doesn’t have Google Play store or any Google services like Gmail, Google Maps and so on. Instead, Nokia is offering its own Android store that the company claims has most of the top apps and has replaced all of Google’s services with either its own or Microsoft’s services. So there is Nokia HERE maps, Outlook, Bing search, Nokia Music… you get the idea.
That’s not to say that users won’t be able to get any Google apps. Nokia has smartly integrated other third-party apps stores like Yandex from where one can download most Android apps. Nokia says that almost 75 percent of all Android apps can work on the phone. We have seen Google’s Chrome browser running on the Nokia X and it works, though one cannot sign into their Google account to sync tabs and bookmarks. Nokia says that app developers will have to ensure that their apps do not use three Google APIs — location, authentication and in-app payments — and need to replace it with Nokia’s APIs. So any app which uses these three APIs and not customized for the X-series will not work with all the features.
The UI too is not what we are used to and instead has been designed to look similar to Windows Phone, complete with Live Tiles on the homepage. Instead of multi-tasking, Nokia gives Fastlane, which we have earlier seen on Asha phones. We find this to be excessively crippling the phone and what Android is capable of providing. However, Nokia says it is targeting first-time smartphone users with the X-series smartphones and does not expect them to be Android users already. This will be used as a stepping stone to ensure these users embrace Microsoft’s services like OneDrive, Outlook and Skype, among others instead of Google’s services. With the X-series Nokia says it is making Android apps available on affordable smartphones with hardware and design quality, which other players cannot match.
We can vouch for the hardware quality and design and the Nokia X does look pretty polished and premium. As far as the specifications are concerned, the Nokia X sports a 4-inch WVGA (800×480 pixels) display and is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor paired with 512MB of RAM. Other features include 4GB of storage with microSD support, 5-megapixel camera, a 1,500mAh battery and dual-SIM card slots.