So it turns out that all the rumors are true and that Nokia does indeed have plans for Android. After all they have recently announced the Nokia X, the X+, and the Nokia XL. Now we’re sure many of you guys are wondering why would Nokia suddenly go with Android, and better yet, what could Nokia’s strategy be by going Android? After all Nokia is close to being acquired by Microsoft, and with Microsoft having their own smartphone platform, we’re sure they can’t be too pleased about this.
Well for one it could be Nokia’s way of capturing the emerging market where low-end Android devices might be more preferred. This isn’t to say that Windows Phone does not have low-cost alternatives. The Lumia 520 is the perfect example of a Windows Phone doing immensely well but given the ubiquitous nature of Android and the fact that there are more apps readily available for it, it is understandable why one might decide to go with an Android phone over a Windows Phone handset even if both would to be priced similarly.
In fact Nokia’s Product Marketing Vice President Jussi Nevanlinna (via Reuters) summed it up perfectly when he said, “Our fans often times tell us ‘We love your hardware, we love your products, but we also love our Android apps’.”
So in a way by releasing an Android smartphone, Nokia has managed to answer that question regarding app availability, but here’s the next problem: with Nokia running a forked version of Android, their handsets will not have access to the same Google services that other Android phones have access to, and more importantly the Google Play Store where the apps are all located at.
Well it turns out that Nokia has a plan, which is to provide their own services, such as their own music and map offerings, access to Microsoft email, cloud, messaging, and of course Bing search services. In fact if we didn’t know better, it sounds like a Windows Phone already. Apps will be available via Nokia’s own app store so we guess it’s up to Nokia and developers to start populating it with Android apps, otherwise we’re pretty much back to square one. fortunately, this is much easier/faster than porting Android apps to Windows Phone.
Of course the good news is that with the Nokia X series being Android devices, it also means that they can be rooted. What this means is that developers will find a way to flash custom Android ROMs onto the phone, thus replacing Nokia’s forked version of Android with something a little more familiar. In fact we have seen instances in the past where Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets, which runs a forked version of Android, have been rooted and had the CyanogenMod ROM flashed onto it.
Like we said at the beginning of the post, Microsoft is close to acquiring Nokia and we’re not sure how long Microsoft plans on supporting Nokia’s Android endeavors. Will Microsoft end up killing the Nokia X lineup once they acquire the company, or will the numbers prove too attractive for Microsoft to do anything but keep at it? CCS Insight’s head of research, Ben Wood, states that moving to Android would be an admission of failure on Nokia’s part, but wouldn’t keeping Android around be an admission of failure on Microsoft’s part as well?