It's a Nokia, with Android, minus the Google

Nokia made a big deal out of the Nokia X – and it's sibling products, the X+ and XL – back at Mobile World Congress, it's first foray into the Android world. But it's not exactly Android in the sense we're familiar with in these parts. Take out the Google and add in some square tiles and you're on the right track.

The Nokia X is definitely aimed towards the low end; a Snapdragon S4 and 512MB of RAM are long past being 'cutting edge.' The low-resolution display, fixed focus rear camera and paltry 4GB of on-board storage scream nothing but 'budget device.' But that doesn't mean we aren't interested by it.

Amazon did something different with Android and it was hardly a failure, so perhaps there is a method to Nokia's madness. And there's absolutely no better way to get a handle on what's what than by putting it through the full review treatment.

And so, that's exactly what we're going to do. The full review is on its way soon, but in the mean time we've taken a quick first look at a retail version of the Nokia X. And you'll catch that in the video up top. Stay tuned for more!

 
There are 55 comments

bugginout711 says:

i would think motorola would have issues with this being similarly marketed to the moto x. it also doesnt help the idea of fragmentation but not much can be done about that. For everything they want to build though it seems interesting that they can't improve windows phone enough to compete with the android operating system.

DS1331 says:

Lol what a terrible Phone

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djeborn says:

Sadly, it's better than the phone I have right now...

josuearisty says:

What a sadly history.

DJCBS says:

And after you're done with the review...could you flash a proper Android ROM on it? Just so to see how it performs.
As for being the first and last Android Nokia...well, yeah, very likely. At least until 2016.

someguy01234 says:

Or you can save a time and get a Moto G.

There are already people on youtube putting Google Now Launcher on it. It won't fix the fact the phone only have a back button.

DJCBS says:

I'm not interested in getting a Moto G. If I was to get a Motorola I would get a Moto X IF Motorola allowed me to customize with the Moto Maker (which they don't).

At any rate, I want a proper Android ROM on a Nokia Android "because". I only use flagship phones, so it's not like I want this phone with a ROM to use on a daily basis.

ajpri says:

This may be a weird question, but how do u pronounce Nokia. Is it No-keyuh (like you don't have a Kia car) or is it knock-ee-ah? This video is the 1st I've seen it pronounced like the latter. What's correct?

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Depends where in the world you live. Can't say I've ever heard it pronounced the first way in the UK. Even on Nokia TV ads.

DJCBS says:

The correct way is as in "Knock-Ya". Richard pronounced it correctly. Only in America do some people call it "No-keyuh" ;)

Spot on.

Chris Kurker says:

I live in America and if I started saying knock e ya i would sound crazy, idk its weird how these things work but I actually think knock e ya sounds better!!

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DJCBS says:

Yeah I understand.
But hey, don't feel bad. No one gets mad because Americans pronounce it that way any more.

After all, we're also used at you saying "mob'le" instead of "mow-byle", "alumi-num" instead of "aluminee-um" and calling football, "soccer". Among other things lol. ;D

Analyss14 says:

I've lived here for decades but when I was still a teenager I used to travel a lot and I schooled all over. Back then "wife beaters" were everywhere and my friends used to laugh every time I said singlet. One friend actually said it sounded like a food product you would order from a fast food restaurant, like "can I please have the 12-pc singlet meal." I also pronounced Mayonnaise very differently and the letter "h" still pronounce that differently.

As an aside, American don't pronounce aluminum wrong, they actually pronounce it correctly...the way they spell it.

DJCBS says:

Is it? Or is it that they spell it like that because of the way they pronounce it? ;)
(seldom does spelling change not compelled by oral use)

dj1994 says:

The change to the spelling of aluminum was done on purpose and the pronunciation followed by my understanding.

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Tyler Paul says:

This is generally correct. Alumium was the original spelling and pronunciation. The rest of the English speaking world changed to aluminum and then aluminium, Webster's dictionary stuck on aluminum and that eventually repressed the -ium spelling and pronunciation in the US.

Greg Pierce says:

Its as equally crazy to be saying No-Kia :)

WolfpacDAR says:

meh, toe-may-toe toe-mah-toe... (that reference is actually very pertinent in this convo, as one is the american pronunciation while the other is the british pronunciation... that's just how things are sometimes.)

Nope in the UK it is generally pronounced Knock-Key-Ah

wollac11 says:

"Knock-ee-ah". That's how we say it in the UK anyway whereas in the US people tend to say "No-keyuh". The reason Richard says it in a way that is different to how you may have heard it in other videos is because he, like myself, is British whereas I imagine most of the other videos you have been watching were of Americans.

European pronunciation of words with "o" and "r" sounds tend to have more air in them, versus Canadian and American pronunciation of the same words. However, there are distinct differences between Canada and the US as well. For example, for the car "Mazda" a Canadian would say "MAZZ-da" while an American would say "MAHZ-da".

I want to hate this thing but find it strangely compelling..

What's the price point?

Can't 100% say for sure based on this unit. This one's an import from somewhere that's pretty likely outside Europe.

DJCBS says:

Nokia announced the X for 89€, the X+ for 99€ and the XL for 109€. However the devices have still to officially reach Europe.

And in Europe things have a nasty habit of changing...:/

VAT!

Posted from my TARDIS!

DJCBS says:

Tell me about it.
Over here, Lisbon's Nokia Care Centre has announced they'd have the Nokia X now in April...for 150€. And that's most definitely NOT the VAT's blame.

gmaninvan says:

Wow, that thing is slow. Same processor as the Nexus 4 but I can't ever remember my N4 hanging like that when opening apps.

Not quite. Nexus 4 is an S4 Pro and paired with 2GB of RAM. But yeah, the internals aren't exactly current.

JHBThree says:

The X is missing two cores, a gig and a half of ram and other features that the Nexus 4's S4 Pro has.

planoman says:

I love my Nokia Luma 925 build quality and radios and purview. I would jump on a Nokia flagship android in a second...I know, I know, not happening...

jdbii says:

I'm rooting for this. It is going to have to be a lot cheaper than the Moto G to be a success.

Frian Yhan says:

Nokia android with windows phone flavour

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lauticol says:

Waiting for a Here Maps port for other Androids!!

JHBThree says:

I haven't seen anyone post anything critical like this in these comments yet, but this disclaimer is worth giving:

This device IS NOT geared towards anyone that would be reading Android Central. It is not geared towards much of the developed world. It is a stepping stone between Nokia's Asha line, which runs Symbian, and Nokia's Lumia line. Part of the reason for this is that Windows Phone used to require a licensing fee that made it too expensive to put on a phone like this in the volume Nokia is seeking. Given that Microsoft just made Windows free for phones, the X family may be the first and last devices of their kind coming from Nokia (soon to be Microsoft's hardware division).

When critiquing the X, you have to keep in mind its intended audience.

DJCBS says:

Just FYI, proper Android phones can come from Nokia come 2016. They're selling employees to,Microsoft, not selling the company nor the patents. ;)

JHBThree says:

No, they can't. Nokia is selling its entire device manufacturing/design arm to Microsoft. There won't be anything left at Nokia to build phones. (And I'd imagine the deal would prohibit such a thing)

Nokia is going after the wireless infrastructure market, as well as patent licensing. The former is a very smart move, because the demand for infrastructure is only going to increase as networks get faster and the developing world starts to gain this technology.

DJCBS says:

You're completely wrong.
The only thing Nokia is selling is the devices & services arm. All the patents necessary to build the phones, the research and development division and everything else remains in the hands of Nokia.
So basically, all they need to do in 2016 is put together or buy another devices division since all the tech and expertise remained in their hands.

Also, you clearly DIDN'T read the deal. Guess what? I did. It's stated CLEARLY there that Nokia can return to the phone manufacturing business in 2016 (2 years after the announcement of the deal in 2013).
If Nokia had no intention of keeping the door open to return, they wouldn't put that clause there.

Kolten Nay says:

I want to see this os run on the latest hardware. That would be quite interesting but no play store is disappointing.

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Largg says:

You know, this phone wouldn't be all that bad is priced right. Put this phone on prepay with a second tier provider here in the USA. It could take the place of some of these off brand feature phones. Teens with part time jobs would like it as their first phone (that they have to buy with their own money)..

udazavlanje says:

The only way to justify existence of this phone would be price 70$ or below. Seriously, reason to buy one as an uninformed customer is the the brand name (the biggest in EU and rest of the world - sans US) at the "low" price point.
It's a big, fat n square joke of a mobile device.
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JHBThree says:

Your post should be tagged as #Firstworldpointofview .

This is a step up from a lot of the crap 'smartphones' you can get in emerging markets, and a middle step between Nokia's Asha and Lumia lines. It serves a purpose, which is to give new smartphone buyers a capable device at a reasonable cost. (and get them hooked to Microsoft services for an eventual jump up to a lumia)

Burning_RaF says:

it's great, it's like a 2014 version of the 3310.

sher9501 says:

This phone is a joke.

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supa_dupa says:

Poor Nokia....

planoman says:

Poor? They are just about to be acquired by a company worth 330 billion...lol!

bleached says:

They had to sell. Their mobile phone sales fell off a cliff a couple years ago and Windows Phone wasn't successful enough to bring them back. They were switching to Android and Microsoft knew their only chance to save Windows Phone was buying Nokia's phone business.
Microsoft is still in a tough position. They do not have any OEMs seriously supporting WP and it will basically be up to them to push the platform. Without a huge change in branding and UI, I don't think they will have much success. WP8.1 is definitely better, but when it comes down to it, it is more of the same failed approach.

DJCBS says:

You can add to that the huge problems Microsoft will have, going forward, in selling their devices outside the US where the only thing that was selling Windows Phone was those 5 letters engraved in the phones: N O K I A.

Once those go away, consumers will turn elsewhere. And without any other OEM offering good devices, people will most likely turn to Android or iOS devices.

DJCBS says:

Nokia is not being bought by Microsoft. All that Microsoft is buying is the employees that form Nokia's Devices & Services division.

Thing of it this way: Microsoft wanted to produce phones. They needed a division. They could start a recruitment process and go through all that work. Instead, they went to Nokia and just bought their employees.

Microsoft isn't getting neither the Nokia brand, nor any of the other Nokia divisions and most importantly, they're not getting Nokia's patents.
Nokia will keep existing independent of Microsoft, they just won't make phones for the time being. They'll keep 3 main divisions: NSN, HERE and Advanced Technologies (which includes patents, the R&D division and probably even the smartwatch division). In 2016 Nokia can build another D&S division and return to the market IF they so wish to do so (by, for example, buying Jolla back into Nokia).

JHBThree says:

You seem to not understand what has occurred. Nokia failed in the smartphone marketplace. They were forced to sell their device division to Microsoft. They won't be reentering the market. Ever.

DJCBS says:

You're the one who doesn't seem to understand the deal, which is understandable since you didn't bother to read it.

Also, Nokia failed with WP. Yup. But it's still one of the most important phone manufacturers in the World. More than that, its brand has a power that no other OEM has apart from Apple. If it wasn't for the power of the Nokia brand, WP would be dead a long time ago. If it wasn't for the brand power, Nokia would have closed doors after the launch of the iPhone in 2007.

Also, they weren't forced to sell the devices division to Microsoft. Microsoft was forced to buy it because Nokia was going to jump ship to Android, thus making Windows Phone crash and burn way sooner than it will once those 5 letters disappear from the phones.
It was Ballmer that, in desperation, approached Nokia. Not the other way around.

And "they won't be re-entering the market. Ever"....you know nothing, Jon Snow ;)

HarkAtYou says:

Microsoft are getting open use of Nokia's patents for 10 years, with option to renew after that. In exchange Nokia get access to some Microsoft patents. Nokia can't afford to build a new division, they don't have any factories (except the one in India they are closing down), they don't have any employees with mobile experience, they will have been out of the market for a few years (although Microsoft will still be selling phones branded as Nokia for a few years to come). Nokia's main draw is in the Asha buying countries, which by that time Microsoft will have been working on with Windows Phone (which is now free to install on a phone, and Microsoft have dropped the hardware requirements, so now cheap android phones can have windows installed instead for free, instead of paying Microsoft $40 for every handset Android is installed in), and with this stepping stone android.

Nokia are unlikely to come back to the handset business any time soon. They simply can't afford to.

DJCBS says:

Nokia's patents aren't licensed in exclusivity to Microsoft. Nor do they become controlled by Microsoft AT ALL. So nothing prevents the likes of even Apple from licensing Nokia's patents.

"Nokia can't afford to build a new division, they don't have any factories (except the one in India they are closing down), they don't have any employees with mobile experience".

Couple of things:
1 - Nokia has no factories and hasn't had them for years. Just like other OEMs, the factories that build the phones are contracted to do so. Foxconn & Co. are the ones that build the phones for almost everyone. All they needed to do was get new contracts.

2 - There's a ton of people in Finland with qualifications and expertise on building phones because, for many years, people in Finland studied with the sole objective of going to work for Nokia. Not only that, Nokia actually has an "informal" Devices division: it's called "Jolla".
Jolla is a company that is made of ex-Nokia engineers and employees that got fired or left because of Eflop.
Not only that, Nokia funded Jolla. Nokia allows Jolla to use their HERE services. There's a ton of Nokia stuff within the DNA of Jolla. There's nothing more natural than Nokia to buy Jolla - the company they funded and "fed" with employees - back into the company.

Also, have you ever thought of it this way:
- Currently Nokia has a gigantic D&S division. They have presence in every single market. But many of those markets - like the US for example - are a black-whole of money.
- With the sale of the current D&S division, Nokia can effectively do a downscale of their D&S division and get out of markets they should have left long ago to focus on markets where they're more successful. All this without having to fire a single employee.
- After 2016, Nokia can perfectly well buy Jolla and refocus their mobile offerings into only specific markets like Europe.

Another note: Microsoft will NOT be building smartphones with the Nokia brand at all. Microsoft can only build phones that are based on the S30 and S40 series (dumbphones and Asha phones). That's assuming Microsoft has any interest whatsoever in building those kinds of phones (which Microsoft has shown time and time again not be leaning into).

Never say something is "unlikely" in the mobile business. A couple of years ago, no one ever thought Nokia would lose the first place. Then came the iPhone. Then no one thought Apple would lose to Android. And yet, here we are.