Nokia and Android: get used to it, because more are on the way

Nokia and Android: get used to it, because more are on the wayPart of the narrative leading up to MWC 2014 was that with Microsoft about to assume control of Nokia, the Nokia X would be the company's “first and last” Android smartphone.

Nokia partially burst that bubble by announcing not one but three Android devices on Monday, and now it's promising that's just the start.

For a company supposedly down on its luck Nokia sure knows how to pull out a surprise or two come MWC time. Two years ago it was the Nokia 808 PureView, this time around the Nokia X, X+ and XL.

But if it was a shock to see a trio of Nokia Androids emerge when many of us doubted the existence of even one, that's nothing.

Over to Jussi Nevanlinna, Nokia VP of Mobile Phone marketing: “We will be announcing more products in the family over the course of the next year, and the price range it covers will change to suit the markets. We will be taking Nokia X into even more affordable price points.”

Nevanlinna was speaking to Nokia Conversations in a lengthy Q&A piece covering just some of the many questions mobile tech journalists have been asking over the past few weeks.

Despite the widespread coverage, however, few have raised the possibility of this being just the start of Nokia's Android adventure. But now that it comes to it, why not?

The forked Android OS means Nokia (and therefore Microsoft) can pre-load devices with all the same software and services you get on Lumia handsets, and if that's happening at a price point Windows Phone can't reach, that's extra users that might stick with those services even if they move to a mainstream Android device.

Yes, there's the question of Windows Phone market share and licence revenue, but then isn't it time Microsoft faces the reality that once it owns Nokia, something like 90% of Windows Phone licence revenue will effectively be coming from itself.

Nevanlinna himself points out that he “can't speak on Microsoft's behalf”, while Windows Phone boss Joe Belfiore commented over the weekend that Nokia would “do some things we’re excited about, and some things we’re less excited about”.

But rest assured – if Microsoft had been hell bent on killing the Nokia X project it could have stipulated that the buyout deal could only go ahead if Nokia's plans to build an Android phone didn't.

The fact that it didn't surely isn't because it didn't know. It obviously sees the value in getting smartphone first-timers in developing markets using Microsoft/Nokia services.

If the strategy works, and Windows Phone's lack of progress outside of Nokia continues (remember: there were zero truly new Windows Phones announced at MWC 2014), it raises an interesting possibility: could Microsoft end up scrapping Windows Phone and simply adopt Nokia's tweaked version of Android as its primary OS instead?

Sounds crazy, but then so did Nokia launching three Android phones a couple of months ago.

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6 comments

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 28, 2014 at 11:03

Not so weird at all...
Microsoft's main concern is that people use Bing, OneDrive etc etc... And if Nokia's Android fork retains the appearance of WP aesthetics, the job is done.

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 28, 2014 at 11:04

chaz1992  Feb. 28, 2014 at 11:07

Alternatively, it's a clever marketing strategy. I'd suspect the windows 'equivalent' version of the phone from a price point of view will be better, and so, when you have two Nokia's of the same price and the windows one outperforms the android ones, to the untrained eye, windows would appear better. This means more people will commit to the windows one, Nokia will make another loss (this time with android) but in the long term, when Nokia focus back on WM, will have the customer base that they wanted from the offset.

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 28, 2014 at 11:42

Alternatively, it's a clever marketing strategy. I'd suspect the windows 'equivalent' version of the phone from a price point of view will be better, and so, when you have two Nokia's of the same price and the windows one outperforms the android ones, to the untrained eye, windows would appear better. This means more people will commit to the windows one, Nokia will make another loss (this time with android) but in the long term, when Nokia focus back on WM, will have the customer base that they wanted from the offset.

The problem with that line of thought is that there cannot be an 'equivalent' WP version of said device. Its (the X's) only stand-out feature is the capablility*** of installing Android apps.
Othere than that it's thoroughly lower midrange. Get a Lumia 520 or 625 (for size)...

*** personally, I'd have no need for any Android apps :p So it's no 'capability'.
The thought of carrying a device that shares my data with both Google and Microsoft gives not only me the creeps, it gives my creeps the creeps, also...

Idontwantanaccountthanks  Mar. 1, 2014 at 21:23

Doesn't it allow Microsoft to have a slice of the low cost developing market (and associated advertising market) without having problems over licensing issues for Windows Phone from other handset manufacturers? Other companies are struggling to make low cost Windows phones (hence the recent licensing fee cut) and would be loathe to see more low cost WP handsets from Microsoft itself.

JanSt / MOD  Mar. 2, 2014 at 15:27

Doesn't it allow Microsoft to have a slice of the low cost developing market (and associated advertising market) without having problems over licensing issues for Windows Phone from other handset manufacturers? Other companies are struggling to make low cost Windows phones (hence the recent licensing fee cut) and would be loathe to see more low cost WP handsets from Microsoft itself.

Yes, kinda my point, too...

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