Monday, March 3, 2014

What is The Nokia X?

The dream of Android on Nokia’s hardware is finally a living and breathing reality. After numerous concepts and rumors about Nokia creating an android powered device throughout the years, Nokia finally dropped the bomb at Mobile World congress earlier this week. They announced a new category which is supposedly the convergence of Asha and Lumia in terms of design and software. Nokia X or ‘android on nokia’ is probably the last series of handsets bearing the Nokia name because after the Microsoft-Nokia acquisition is complete, the ‘Nokia’ name will most likely be changed to only ‘Asha’ and ‘Lumia’. What Microsoft plans to do with this line of devices is yet to be known but one thing’s for sure is that the first three devices will be in the hands of users this week and the rest of the story is yet to be known.Nokia Normandy
You might have heard about the NokiaX before the launch because the device has been extensively leaked by @evleaks prior to the official launch early last week. The NokiaX bears an internal codname of Normandy an the concrete speculation all started with the leaked image on the left. So, in your mind you might be thinking why would Nokia want to make and android device when the future keeper of the brand is Microsoft; which is the competitor of Google which makes android (OK, if you don’t get what i was trying to say in the sentence before this, then just forget about it). Nokia’s new android based handsets is not as glamorous as you think. True, its running android but there’s a catch to it; Google services like Gmail, Play Store and Google Search are not present on the device. Instead Microsoft is using swapping anything google with microsoft— outlook is the main email service on the NokiaX opposed to gmail which is the sole provider on normal android devices. Other than running a forked version android, Nokia is also doing away the usual android homescreen in favour of their custom solution which looks like the modern UI on windows phone but without the app list one swipe away. Instead, they are bringing in their fastlane from their Asha line of devices; In layman terms fastlane is a convergence of the usual android drop down menu and the multitasking manager. Fastlane is not the only thing standing out on the Nokia X, the custom launcher is also getting a lot of buzz because it is basically a Windows Phone rip off. The tiles on the homescreen are not only resizable but they are also updating live, like in Windows Phone. With the Nokia X, Nokia is finally porting their own apps like Here Maps and Nokia Music into android. Downloading applications on the Nokia X is a bit of a sticky situation because you don’t have the Google Play Store by your side; instead you can only get applications to the Nokia Store which includes ported app from the Play Store. So, its really up to the developers to port their apps to the Nokia Store. Stephen Elop did say that porting apps to the Nokia Store is so simple that it can be done in a matter of ‘days’. He also went ahead and said that 75% of android applications can be directly ported without any modification to it. During the announcement Elop also clarified that the Nokia X does support sideloading which mean you can directly install an android APK file which is easily downloadable online. Early reports also shows that other android App Stores like the Amazon App Store can be installed on the Nokia X.
"apps will not be a problem on the Nokia X"
Nokia X android
The Nokia X is basically a carbon copy of the company’s Lumia and Asha devices, Nokia is basically recycling up the physical and software design of their current lineup and forging out the Nokia X. I’m not trying to say that its a bad idea to do something like that but in order to survive the tough competition out there, Nokia really needs to buckle up and shed some extra innovation into this. If you put a Lumia and the Nokia X on the same table it’s really unrecognisable because both the the devices have very similar design languages. But looking at another perspective, the Nokia X is aimed in at emerging and developing countries and in those places, price plays an important role in sales. The outcome might be quite good because unlike consumers from well developed countries which crave for the most high end specs possible; consumers in countries like India, Indonesia and Philippines still have a strong support base for Nokia devices because there is no other company out there which provides a phone at a reasonable price. One other thing which i can’t seem to figure out is why did Nokia opt to use Android 4.1.2 which is an android version which was released nearly 2 years ago (or 3 generations back). In my opinion they should’ve used Kitkat (Android 4.4) to run the Nokia X because that particular release has built in optimizations for low tier devices/ budget devices. Well, throughout MWC, Nokia did not mention anything about a software update for the Nokia X and the device may very well be on Jellybean for the rest of its life.
DISPLAY 4” IPS LCD WVGA (480 X 800)—(233 PPI) 4”  IPS LCD WVGA (480 X 800)—(233 PPI) 5” IPS LCD WVGA (480 X 800)—(187 PPI)
PROCESSOR 1Ghz Snapdragon S4 Play (MSM8225) 1Ghz Snapdragon S4 Play (MSM8225) 1Ghz Snapdragon S4 Play (MSM8225)
CAMERA 3.15MP (FIxed Focus) 3.15MP (FIxed Focus) 5MP(Auto Focus)
ANDROID OS v4.1.2 Jellybean, Nokia Fastlane v4.1.2 Jellybean, Nokia Fastlane v4.1.2 Jellybean, Nokia Fastlane
DIMENSIONS 115.5 X 63 X 10.4mm ~ 128.7g 115.5 X 63 X 10.4mm ~ 128.7g 141.3 X 77.7 X 10.8mm ~ 190g
BATTERY 1500 mAh 1500 mAh 2000 mAh
COLORS green, grey, white, yellow, cyan, red green, grey, white, yellow, cyan, red green, black, white, yellow, cyan, orange
In this first wave, there are three Nokia X models which include 2 similarly spec’d 4” phones and a more ‘higher end’ 5” model (chart above). There are several things in common between the tree device; the resolution of the devices stand in at a low 480 X 800 (WVGA); the processor is a dual core Snapdragon S4 Play clocked in at 1GHz. The entry level Nokia X has 512MB of RAM and the two ‘higher end’ Nokia X+ and XL both have 768MB or RAM. These devices all sport microSD card slots to promote storage expansion because there is only 4GB of internal storage onboard. The camera on the Nokia X and X+ is really not too good by todays standard but given the price of the device, the camera is a great addition. Moving up to the XL which has a 5MP camera and also a 2MP front facing camera for video calls. The three models aren’t going to win the most speediest android award but they are solidly built and they will come in a bevy of bright and vibrant colors. The Nokia X will be hitting shelves later this week for €89 and the other two will be going on sale during the first week of April for €99 and €109 respectively.Nokia Family of Devices
Google Launcher on NokiaX
The Nokia X being an android device, means it is prone to being hacked and modified. Late last week, the Nokia X hits the XDA-Developers forums rooted and with google services installed on to the device. I’m pretty sure that in the coming weeks there will be a couple of custom ROMs for the Nokia X. Another thing which i find a tricky is the apps which mainly use google services, i’m not so sure how those apps will run? Overall the Nokia X is not what most of us have in mind of android on Nokia, mainly because of the low end specs. The device does not have the signature nokia innovations like the camera or screen, it basically only has the everlasting solid nokia build quality and that’s it! A few days ago, a Nokia exec stated that there will be more devices under the Nokia X family which will reach more affordable and lower price points. I think what Nokia is trying to do here is to expand towards the emerging markets and to see what works and what does not. The Nokia X will always be a step down the Lumia series because i don’t think Microsoft wants android to surpass windows phone. Inversely, the launch of this three new devices will bring harm towards the low end lumia devices because people might choose the Nokia XL oppsed to the Lumia 520 because there is more apps on android and the design is mostly the same with bright and vibrant color options. Again, its really hard to say what the response is going to be like because there isn’t any concrete evidence to look the other way. With that said, we might never see a Nokia X with a 41MP camera because of the Status Quo. But for now, the Nokia X is not for the tech savvy users because the specs of it is clearly pre-2012.Nokia Android
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