After just covering the planned road map for Nokia devices, and with the Microsoft and Nokia merger finally wrapped up. The last thing we expected to see was a new Android powered Nokia phone. But that exactly what was announced today. Improving on the Original Nokia X, both Microsoft and Nokia have announced the Nokia X2.
Featuring a striking new design in a range of bright colours, and a bump in internal specifications. Nokia once again takes aim at emerging markets, pricing the X2 just €99. Packing into that tiny price tag, Nokia design and build quality.
The Nokia X2 packs all the Microsoft features you would expect. Bringing them to a much wider android audience. Software has been the biggest improvement. Bringing in several features from windows phone. One new software tweak is what Nokia call ‘Fastlane’. Holding down the back button a launches the new feature. Displaying upcoming appointments, and recently used applications. Making multi-tasking easier, and navigation not just limited to the Home and back buttons.
The Nokia X2 has its Microsoft services at its heart. Bundling them all onto the Nokia X2. So things like Skype, Outlook email and OneDrive are all included. Giving you 15GB of OneDrive space for your purchase. Not to mention things like HERE maps, Xbox games and Bing are all services pushed from the Nokia X2 Store.
Having a bit of a bad rep to start with, the store for the Nokia X2 has been improved and features the staple apps of a most users. The new version even incorporating third party app stores. So a service like Amazon could download apps to the Nokia X2. Not forgetting this is Android after all so any APK’s you have can be side-loaded.
One criticism of the original X was its confusing navigation. Its mashed hybrid of android and Windows was often confusing. Having this in mind improvements have been made for the Nokia X2. Borrowing two features straight from Windows Phone. An improved apps list, means your home screen is kept for your personalised shortcuts. Now also allowing you to pick a tile colour scheme to match your style.
Continuing the Windows and Android hybrid. Borrowing specs straight from an entry level Lumia handset, the Nokia X2 sports a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 200. With only 1GB of ram, everything is pretty snappy with only a few apps running, but is bogged down with too much open. One stand out feature is the bigger 4.3inch display, given that its only 480 x 800 pixels it doesn’t bode well. But it has Nokia’s excellent ClearBlack technology. So even in bright sun light, the display is clear and vivid.
The Nokia X2 also sports a pretty well performing 5MP camera, with flash, auto focus and great software processing, images look good considering the low mega pixel count. In another nod clearly at the emerging markets Nokia has also included dual-SIM capability.
I was surprised the Android experiment that was the original Nokia X ever saw the light. But given the second iteration it hard to see the market for these devices. Given the excellent price of entry level Lumia and Android phones. Packing respectable specs such as the Lumia 625 or Moto G/E. I am not sure why someone would chose to buy the Nokia X2. Even if already tied into the Microsoft eco-system, a Lumia is the obvious choice.
Buying the Nokia X2 must feel like you’re stuck in a no-man’s land. It’s not a Windows Phone, but it’s not an Android phone. So you receive half the benefit of each platform. It’s still not the Android handset we all crave from Nokia, a dream we must all now let go. What would it take for Microsoft to make a successful Android handset?