Nokia’s surprising trio of Android-based smartphones will reportedly be restricted to “growth markets”, thus dodging North America, and should run 75% of existing Android apps with no glitches or tweaks needed.
Let’s cut the act, Nokia didn’t exactly catch us off guard at the Mobile World Congress, by rolling out a handheld built on AOSP (Android Open Source Project). Sure, some folks were under the impression Microsoft would swoop in at the last minute and halt or at least stall the intro, but you see, they ultimately had nothing to fear.
The X family has little to do with Android at its core, and absolutely nothing with Google. Yet the mere fact it’s already a family is a tad unexpected, likely suggesting a grander plan for the series than anyone predicted.
On the other hand, Nokia wants to be clear right off the bat, the X, X+ and XL are targeted at emerging markets. India, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria lead the list, probably to be joined by a slate of Eastern European states before long.
Who’s not on the list? North America, Korea and Japan. Also, don’t hold your breath over in Western Europe. There’s simply not enough demand around those parts for what Nokia describes as “young, social, very aspirational” devices. What they don’t say is at the end of the day the Xs are bulky and lackluster hardware-wise as well.
On the software side of things, the mystery of the precise Android version found underneath multiple customizations and a massive UI revamp is solved: 4.1 Jelly Bean. More importantly, Nokia has gone into detail as to compatibility with standard Android apps and the procedures used to ensure harmony.
On paper, it looks like the X trio won’t be that different from phones running “vanilla” Android, as three thirds of the ecosystem’s apps can allegedly work “unmodified”. The rest? They need a little fine tuning. Emphasis on little, as developers will basically only be asked to port Google maps, notifications and/or in-app payments to their Nokia-specific counterparts.
It’s as simple as that, and say the Finns, it takes eight hours tops.