In the end, Nokia announcing its debut Android smartphone at MWC 2014 in Barcelona today can't be seen as a surprise given the massive flow of Nokia X-related leaks in recent weeks.
But the Finns still managed a (relative) surprise when outgoing CEO Stephen Elop didn't stop at just one Android phone, but announced a total of three – the Nokia X, the Nokia X+ and the Nokia XL.
The trio all have in common Nokia's forked Android OS, which has more than a little Lumia-essence to it, as well as ultra-low price tags, with the differences relating to slight hardware variations and emphasis on different features to suit different markets.
First to be announced was the Nokia X itself, or the Nokia Normandy as we first came to know it.
Spec-wise we already knew the deal, mostly anyway: 4in 800 x 480 display, dual-core Snapdragon processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of expandable storage, and a 3MP camera.
The Nokia X+ ups the RAM to 768MB and also comes with a bundled 4GB microSD card, while the Nokia XL ups the screen size to 5in (though with the same 800 x 480 resolution), gives you 5MP/2MP cameras, while all three come with a 10GB helping of Microsoft OneDrive storage plus a free month of Skype calls.
Price-wise, we're talking €89 for the Nokia X, which is available worldwide (except China and Japan) immediately; €99 for the Nokia X+ and €109 for the Nokia XL, both of which will be available in Q2.
Unsurprisingly, the launch event in Barcelona focused far less on the hardware specs than on the software side of things, where the simple truth still seems hard to believe: Nokia, whose phones division has been bought by Microsoft, has just announced three Android smartphones.
Given that reality, it's no surprise that Nokia has gone the fully forked route, which means no direct Google Play access, though Nokia claims developers will be able to port their Android apps over in a matter of hours. Over to Elop himself:
“With the Nokia X, we benefit from the Android app ecosystem. However, we have built on this, with the device introducing new people to Nokia apps and services. It also means Android developers can bring their apps to the Nokia family in just a few hours.
“For developers, the Nokia X is a great way for developers to increase their revenues, and we will offer a bunch of different monetisation options.
“The Nokia X takes people to Microsoft's cloud, not Google's cloud, which means Microsoft will be able to reach people it has never talked to, all around the world.”
That at least sheds some light on Nokia and Microsoft's rationale in going ahead with what seems from the outside a crazy idea.
The super-low price tags are a must, given that the Nokia X is largely just a non-Windows Phone Lumia 520. But what's less impressive is that Nokia's OS is built on the underpinnings of the relatively ancient Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, which lacks the support for just the kind of low-end hardware specs it offers that's present in Android 4.4 KitKat.
Secondly, will developers be interested in spending even the “few hours” of work supposedly needed in reworking their apps for Nokia's OS when their remains no compelling reason to believe Nokia's Android exercise will ever go any further?
Thoughts? Share with the class in the Comments below!