For the last month, we've heard rumors of a device from Nokia called Normandy. The new smartphone would reportedly run Android. Some thought the idea would be nixed as Microsoft acquired Nokia last year, but it seems that Microsoft is totally fine with it.
Nokia announced this morning at Mobile World Congress that it plans to launch a new family of phone this year called Nokia X. The line is comprised of smartphones that run a forked version of Android with a focus on Microsoft and Nokia services. In other words, you could think of it as a Windows Phone that can run Android apps.
The Nokia X family is comprised of three devices - the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL. All three devices are targeted at "affordable smartphone market" which means they'll be launching in emerging markets first. In fact, there are no plans to launch the devices in North American and they probably won't make it over here.
So, what kind of hardware can you expect if you decide to import the Nokia X? All we know is that all three devices are powered by a Qualcomm dual-core CPU which means they're at the low-end of the hardware spectrum. The Nokia X and X+ both sport a 4-inch display with the only difference between the two being that the X+ is optimized for multimedia. As for the XL, it has a 5-inch display and a 2MP front-facing camera.
It should be noted that the Nokia X really is a Microsoft phone despite running Android. All of Google's services have been stripped from the experience which means users will have to get their apps either from Nokia's own store, third-party app stores or through sideloading.
As its codename suggested, the Nokia X line is intended to sneak Windows Phone into consumers' lives through Android. By offering a cheap Android phone with a Windows Phone skin, Microsoft can present its case for Windows Phone with an affordable option that's compatible with the apps they already know. If they get a taste for Microsoft's and Nokia's apps, it just might convince to make the switch.
The Nokia X goes on sale today for the affordable price of €89. It's available in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. The Nokia X+ will be available at the start of Q2 and retail for €99, while the Nokia XL will be made available at the same time and retail for €109.
Image via Nokia