Nokia has unveiled its new X range of smartphones, the company’s first Android phones, at Mobile World Congress this week.
The trio of phones – the X, X+ and XL – was revealed at the event in Barcelona, Spain and will range in price from £73 to £90. The entry level Nokia X phone will go on sale immediately across territories in Europe and Asia Pacific, with the X+ and XL to be released in April 2014.
The Finnish company’s smartphones had, hitherto, used Microsoft’s Windows operating systems (OS). And while the announcement that the new Nokia phones would be switching to the Android OS was largely expected, it has still been called a “perplexing strategic move” by analysts as Microsoft outlined its plans to buy Nokia’s mobile division at the end of last year for $4.6 billion.
The new suite of phones will, however, offer customers free use of Microsoft’s cloud storage system – OneDrive – and Outlook email software. The BlackBerry Messenger, Twitter and Vine apps will also come pre-installed on the smartphones.
Despite the grand unveiling, Nokia’s senior vice president Stephen Elop stated that the company’s existing Lumia phones, which run on Windows, remain its “primary smartphone platform”. The X range, he said, is going to be used as a “feeder system”.
Furthermore, although the X phones are Android devices, a first look at the new mobiles show that both their looks and functionality are different from other Android smartphones on the market. While it uses the Android 4.1 OS, the X range also pulls in features of Windows phones and the Asha Fastline interface. As such, the new smartphones are being called hybrids of Windows and Android phones.
Initial feedback on Nokia’s new releases suggests that, while representing good value for money, the X range is at times slow and the screens have relatively low resolution. Nevertheless, the phones’ ability to use both of Microsoft and Android apps is being praised as an innovative development.
The X range was presented earlier this week at the world’s biggest mobile phone show, Mobile World Congress, which is estimated to attract 75,000 people to Barcelona between 24 and 27 February.
The most basic X model will come with a four-inch screen, 512MB RAM and a three-megapixel camera. The X+ will come with improved 768MB RAM as well as a 4GB MicroSD card. The XL, meanwhile, will have a larger five-inch screen, an improved five-megapixel camera along with a two-megapixel front-facing camera.
With all three of the X range smartphones coming in at less than £100, Nokia will look to exploit a gap in a market that is currently dominated by the more expensive handsets of Samsung and Apple.
Other major announcements to come out of Mobile World Congress have included new smartphone and tablet releases by Sony and Samsung. The pair unveiled the first ever phones to come with 4k video recording technology. Both the Sony Xperia Z2 and the Samsung Galaxy 5 will, like the Nokia X family, be running the Android OS.
Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, meanwhile, also revealed a new smartphone – the Desire 816.