After dilly-dallying for more than 5 years, Nokia finally seems to have bitten the bullet. After partnering with Microsoft to release Windows Phone based smartphones in 2011, it had recently announced the release of its first Android based smart phones. Released under the new ‘X’ series, the three new smart phones, viz. Nokia X, Nokia X+, and Nokia XL will work on a heavily customized version of Android OS. The Nokia X and Nokia X+ are almost similar low end phones with varying storages and other minor differences. The Nokia XL is a phablet with a bigger screen to compete with models like Samsung’s Galaxy Grand.
Despite adopting Android OS in the new Nokia Android Phones, the company made sure that the OS looks almost similar to the Windows Phone’s live tiles design. Customers can’t even download apps from the Google’s Play Store directly. For many analysts, the new X series of smartphones from Nokia are Android phones for name sake. Instead, Nokia makes a lot of its proprietary software available to its latest Android phones. So why did Nokia make a sudden U turn? Is it going to adopt Android OS even for high end smartphones?
The answer for the first question is that even though Nokia adopted Windows Phone for its high end smartphones, it was still using its obsolete series 40 OS for its low end Asha range of smartphones. The availability of Android based smartphones for less than US$ 100 from Chinese manufacturers increased the competition for Nokia. Instead of completely losing its market dominance in this crucial segment, Nokia now wants to replace the series 40 OS with Android temporarily. Some analysts even opine that Nokia wants to woo more developers to start developing apps which can be used on both its Android and Windows Phone based smartphones. Since the availability of apps is considered as a major stumbling block for the spread of Windows Phone, this can give the promising but struggling OS a shot in the arm.
As to the second question, the possibility of Nokia adopting Android OS even for its high-end smartphones remains remote at-least for now. Since Microsoft now owns Nokia’s handset business, it wants to push its Windows Phone at any cost.