Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Android Cellphones

Nokia Announces Nokia X Android Smartphone 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
squiggleslash writes "Despite some industry skepticism, Nokia has indeed been working on an Android smartphone and finally unveiled the Nokia X today. As rumored, it's not a Google Play compatible device, running instead a Google-less AOSP build with a Nokia app store, and Windows Phone style shell. The budget phone will also not be marketed in North America. The Media seems convinced Microsoft — who are in the process of acquiring Nokia — will kill the project, but it's hard to see why Nokia would be working on such a project at this time if Microsoft had plans to do this."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nokia Announces Nokia X Android Smartphone

Comments Filter:
  • by beefoot (2250164) on Monday February 24, 2014 @11:18AM (#46323353)
    Since Nokia makes wonderful handset, could existing nokia handsets running windows be modded to run android?
    • by gmuslera (3436)
      One of the main problems is drivers. Maybe for this new ones a newer android, or firefox os, or ubuntu touch can be ported, as happen with most of the ones with android preinstalled. But if you can't handle hardware properly those ports could lack serious functionalities (i.e. Nitdroid for the N900 lacked microphone support for phone calls)
    • Anything can be done. Will you volunteer to do all the hard work to make that happen?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Hey now, I heard that open source is just automagically more powerful than close sourced software. No one said anything about working for it.

    • by NotDrWho (3543773)

      Considering the fact that MS owns Nokia's mobile phone division, it seems pretty unlikely they would ever allow this. I suspect this one android phone is more of a token effort than anything (a "See, we make android phones too!" token effort)

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Considering the fact that MS owns Nokia's mobile phone division, it seems pretty unlikely they would ever allow this. I suspect this one android phone is more of a token effort than anything (a "See, we make android phones too!" token effort)

        Until the day of the merger, MS doesn't actually own Nokia. This may sound like a technicality, but it makes all sorts of cooperation illegal; cancelling this program, which would have been possible before, now becomes extremely dangerous. This could easily be a way for Nokia to demonstrate independence up until the very last day as well as being a threat in case Microsoft fails to complete the merger (in which case Nokia would go instantly back into profit with an Android phone).

        On the other hand, the o

      • I get that reading the TFA is weird around here, but there's actually three Android different phones being launched; this is just the first one (the others should be out in the next few weeks). This is also, I believe, the lowest-end one, although none of them are high-end.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Since Nokia makes wonderful handset, could existing nokia handsets running windows be modded to run android?

      If all the same hardware is used in phones already running Android, the answer is likely yes. Otherwise, the answer is "not practically".

      • by DrXym (126579)
        Virtually every phone uses a SoC (e.g. snapdragon) that has a android solution (drivers etc.). It's possible that certain hardware features such as VP8 decoding might not be enabled

        So I presume that yes given the effort (and some way to obtain root), most of their mid-high range phones could run Android. Some of the older lower ends might not because they were deliberately gimped and don't even run Windows Phone 7 properly, using a cut down version called Tango instead.

        But for the effort it may be easi

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Virtually every phone uses a SoC (e.g. snapdragon) that has a android solution (drivers etc.).

          Virtually every non-android phone uses a SoC which is just one model number off from the android phones, and which won't work with the drivers from the android phones with the similar model number. A few of them actually work like their close siblings. A few of the lousiest chips are used without obfuscation. Just try getting documentation for the differences, good luck!

          On occasion a device slips through with contemporary hardware sufficiently similar to another device to work with a minimum of problems. Bu

    • not on their windows phones with locked bootloaders

  • If someone had suggested they could release an interface even more playskool, offputting and uglier than WP's tiles, I would have told them they were simply crazy. Alas, I was wrong.
  • Why now? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kingkaid (2751527) on Monday February 24, 2014 @11:36AM (#46323493)
    It isn't a secret that Nokia was working on this phone for a while and their exclusive deal with Microsoft prevented them from releasing it until now. Part of the reason why MS likely acquired Nokia now was because the contract was set to expire and they could lose their largest handset manufacturer. From Nokia's POV, they've been making this for a while and why not show off the hard work? I am sure it is a bit of an ego thing on their part. And with the timing, in the event the regulatory stuff prevented the purchase from Microsoft, it is a good idea for Nokia to keep proceeding as usual and go ahead with the release. Remember that Nokia is only selling their handset side of the business to Microsoft, with a 5 year use of the name. After that time Nokia may consider getting back into the mobile space and what a nice way to come back by having a product that may wet a few appetites (it worked with their N9 and Meego, look at the diehards for those on /.).
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      And with the timing, in the event the regulatory stuff prevented the purchase from Microsoft, it is a good idea for Nokia to keep proceeding as usual and go ahead with the release.

      Is that likely? Everyone's been talking like the MS-Nokia purchase was a done deal.

      • Re:Why now? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wile_e8 (958263) on Monday February 24, 2014 @11:47AM (#46323595)
        From what I've heard, the companies are legally required to act like separate companies until the merger clears all the regulatory hurdles. So killing this because of the pending merger would look bad from that aspect. IANAL though, so any legal types feel free to correct me.
        • by Kjella (173770)

          Formally, yes. Everything that involves bookkeeping, jobs, contracts, IP and so on must be kept separate but they are allowed to cooperate on the same level as Nokia-Microsoft did before the buyout. In practice that means that Nokia wouldn't do much of any major business decision without consulting their exclusive partner, formally they don't have to listen but if any of Nokia's managers want to have a future at Microsoft they wouldn't rock the boat. Or if they did, their manager again would probably stop t

    • by frisket (149522)

      If they fuck it up (and fuck the users over) like they did with the N800, N9, and Meego, then forgeddit.

      but it's hard to see why Nokia would be working on such a project at this time

      Because they suffer from what my medical colleagues refer to as Glutaeo-Humeroid Distinction Disability (the medical term for not knowing your ass from your elbow). They had exactly what was needed three times (a pocket computer that was also a phone, or could at least run Skype) and threw it away three times. There is precisely zero evidence that they are even marginally competent nowadays to run a phone

  • WTF Nokia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nemyst (1383049) on Monday February 24, 2014 @11:39AM (#46323521) Homepage
    So wait, you guys had trouble making the Ovi Store attractive for devs, you haven't managed to make the Windows Store have anything worthwhile in it, and so your answer to WP failing is to make yet another app store you won't know what the fuck to do with? Brilliant.

    If you wanted to have Android on the side, you don't make it rely on some rather complex software infrastructure like that. I really don't see Nokia as having the resources necessary to keep up with their full software stack. Even big players like HTC and Samsung aren't using an alternative app store and many alternative skins suck really bad. Just keep in mind that Amazon's Kindle Fire HD is still on a derivative of 4.0.3 and probably will stay that way.

    What's so hard in understanding this simple three-step formula:
    1) Make some nice hardware.
    2) Put vanilla Android on it with a clear upgrade path to the latest version.
    3) Profit!
    • They probably because they don't want to pay Google [arstechnica.com].

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        They probably because they don't want to pay Google.

        Or just don't agree with Google.

        Nokia owns Navteq, and has their own mapping service. Even if Nokia was willing to pay Google, they would be forced to ensure that Ovi Maps is not the default maps app.

        And any other app that Nokia has - if you sign the agreement with Google, Google's apps must be #1, available within 1 tap of the home screen, and default.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        They could have walked to the next building around the corner 2 streets away and rang at Jolla's door. I'm sure they wouldn't mind inviting Nokia for tea, biscuits and a bit of Sailfish OS. :)

      • ... if the linked-to article actually said that anyone paid Google. It doesn't - there's no licensing fee for the Google Mobile Services (GMS), it's all just testing, submitting devices, and coordinating with Google.

        This is Google's way of maintaining a more cohesive ecosystem, ensuring that any Android device will have a shot at running any Android app (as well as ensuring enough momentum to fund their [huge] investment in the cloud services involved)..

        The real answer is they wanted to support the Micros
    • you haven't managed to make the Windows Store have anything worthwhile in it

      Let's compare the Windows Phone developer program to the iOS developer program: Both charge each developer $99 per year plus 30 percent of sales. Both require a computer running the mobile operating system publisher's own desktop operating system. But unlike iOS, which ships on the iPod touch and iPad mini, Windows Phone OS ships on no Wi-Fi-only devices. Microsoft tried selling a Windows Pod touch, but the Zune flopped horribly. So in order to test your application on a device, you have to buy a phone, and

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Then, after you develop your app, there aren't any users to buy it.

      • This is a great point. They've somehow made development more difficult than even Apple could manage.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        What? You can buy a Windows 521 for $90 off of Amazon, and that's a current generation phone, and there's no need to get a plan. There's many reasons for the lack on Windows apps, the incredible expense of an unlocked phone isn't one of them.

      • by cbhacking (979169)

        By "$99 per year" you mean "$19 per year" in the case of MS... but hey, what's a factor of 5 or so?

        The SDK, incidentally, includes an "emulator" (actually a Hyper-V based virtual machine running an x86 version of the OS) for testing your apps. This SDK is free, and you can get it before signing up for the developer account.

        • by tepples (727027)

          By "$99 per year" you mean "$19 per year" in the case of MS

          It was $99 during the Windows Phone 7 days. I at least give Microsoft credit for having cut the price since then.

          The SDK, incidentally, includes an "emulator" (actually a Hyper-V based virtual machine running an x86 version of the OS) for testing your apps.

          The simulator in the iOS SDK reportedly works the same way. But as far as I can tell, testing multitouch gestures without a device needs a Surface Pro or other Windows 8 (x86-64) tablet, and code that runs fast on your Hyper-V VM might end up intolerably slow on the WP8 device.

    • by jkrise (535370)

      I think Nokia has learnt from HP and Dell - threaten to release a Linux box; and you get hefty discounts on Windows OEM pricing. Even though a subsidiary of Microsoft; I guess Windows Phone 8 is a big fraction of the price of a Nokia handset - hence this crazy strategy?

    • If you do #1 and #2, you've created a commodity. You don't get to #3.
    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      You forgot the "build a time machine back to 2002" step. There are hundred of Chinese factories pumping out cell phone hardware, it's all very efficient and basically zero-margin, Nokia isn't going to be able to be any better at it. And if they are any better at it, by the next week every other factory will be doing the same thing. Cell phone companies make profit by momentum, by advertising, and by stupid gimmicky shit that mostly just differentiates their products.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      What you have to understand is that most people don't care about vanilla Android and OS upgrades. They buy phones based on looks, features and what their friends have. Ultimately any modern smartphone will play Angry Birds, so manufacturers are trying hard to differentiate themselves.

      If Nokia made a vanilla Android phone it would have to compete with the Nexus 5, a phone with excellent hardware, support and a really low price. To be honest Nokia is probably fucked no matter what they do at this point, but t

    • by FalcDot (1224920)

      Every big player in the industry seems convinced #2 and #3 are incompatible...

      • Like the post above said, if you go vanilla, then you are competing head on with the Nexus phones, on hardware and price alone. Now, would you pay $450 for a Nokia phone with vanilla Android and supposedly high Nokia build quality or $350 for a Nexus with the same specs?
        • by Rob Y. (110975)

          If it were unlocked, possibly. Besides price, my main reason for going Nexus is that I know that once Google stops producing updates for the phone, I can turn to Cyanogenmod to extend my phone's life. And if I want additional functionality, I can root and/or go CM earlier. My Nexus One was well on its way to uselessness until I loaded it up with CM - which held me until the lure of new hardware became too great. So far, I'm still stock on my Nexus 4. I had originally rooted it, but had to revert to get

    • by sootman (158191)

      I don't really care about apps. As long as it'll play my PlaysForSure music, I'll be happy.

    • by bug1 (96678)

      What's so hard in understanding this simple three-step formula:
      1) Make some nice hardware.
      2) Put vanilla Android on it with a clear upgrade path to the latest version.
      3) Profit!

      The hard bit that enables that 3 step plan is step 0) Sack managment, replace them with monkeys.

  • by Quick Reply (688867) on Monday February 24, 2014 @11:41AM (#46323547) Journal

    An AOSP phone without Google Play, let alone Amazon App Store or any other established Android App Store, sounds like a Niche phone for programmers/hackers.

    I suspect that it is designed to succeed the legendary Maemo operating system & N900/N9 phones, than a serious attempt to build a future Operating System.

    I expect that it will be highly prized among the hacker community, totally hacked to death with an onslaught of Linux-based operating systems including Ubuntu phone, Firefox OS, CyanagenMod, and Maemo itself. Maybe a few surprises with some left-field operating systems finding their way on there as well.

    • by Howitzer86 (964585) on Monday February 24, 2014 @11:58AM (#46323723)

      I was under the impression that this phone was a low cost offering for developing countries. Hackers DO like that kind of thing, but I doubt it was made with them in mind. I agree with your suggestion that it might have been the successor to the Maemo platform. If so, this was something in the works since before the buy-out plans by Microsoft, and that MS, rather than kill it all together, decided to let them get it out there in order for them to make a return on their investment, provided they at least make it look like the Windows Phone OS.

      This will definitely be wanted by hackers though with Android drifting ever-away from AOSP, it's almost assured to be considered a dead-end phone.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Personally, I like having machines to experiment on, but my phone is not one of them. I want my phone to be rock solid. I also don't like experimenting on my main desktop or laptop either, because I like to keep them running smoothly. I think this is why the Raspberry Pi and Ardruino are so popular. Because you can experiment with them very cheaply, and don't having to spend hours setting up your main work machine when something gets borked. If you want to experiment with stuff hooked up to the cell netwo
        • Yeah, agreed. I'm very reluctant to do unnecessary things to my phone and computers too. In addition to an Ardruino, I have a second tower (my older system) around for doge-coin mining and other experiments.

          The last "hack" I did to a mobile device was my old Nook Color, which I had bought specifically because it was a cheap way to get into the then-new tablet world. Android tablets were still kinda crappy back in 2010, as well as expensive. $250 was able to get me most of what made a decent Android tablet a

    • by pijokela (462279)

      Is there anything stopping people from downloading Amazon app store and installing it themselves?

      Play store is not available as a download from Google (you can get it though), but Amazon is. So this phone should have that and many other third party android app stores.

      • Nokia is creating its own store where it will curate “hundreds of thousands” of apps. Third-party stores will also be integrated into the Nokia Store, providing other sources for Android apps. The Nokia X will also support sideloading, just as Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets do.

        Sounds like Amazon will be able to support the X pretty easily. In fairness, this nugget was hidden away in the place we're all least likely to check. In the actual article itself [theverge.com]!

        • Just because a device supports sideloading individual applications doesn't mean that the device will support sideloading entire app stores. Android has two sideloading mechanisms: the "Unknown sources" checkbox and Android Debug Bridge (ADB). Third-party app stores require the "Unknown sources" checkbox. ADB allows loading individual APKs, but these APKs can't download and install other APKs without "Unknown sources". Windows Phone 8 limits the number of non-Store XAPs that can be installed on a device as a
        • by rasmusbr (2186518)

          It will probably be trivial to port apps as long as they don't use Google Play Services or other Google stuff. It's also pretty easy to mirror a lot of Google Play content on your own app store.

          The way this is probably going to work for a lot of apps is that Nokia will have an automatic script that downloads runnables from Google Play (it's questionable if this is allowed by Google's terms of use, but they haven't gone after anyone for doing it), installs them on their hardware, does some automatic testing

      • Is there anything stopping people from downloading Amazon app store and installing it themselves?

        Amazon Appstore on non-Fire OS devices requires the user to turn on "Unknown sources", and we haven't seen whether or not Nokia plans to leave "Unknown sources" visible. AT&T hid it for the first few months that it sold Android devices.

  • by DdJ (10790) on Monday February 24, 2014 @11:44AM (#46323569) Homepage Journal

    So, this is supposed to be a decently-made budget handset for less affluent markets, running AOSP? That sounds to me like the perfect target for a CyanogenMod port...

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      So, this is supposed to be a decently-made budget handset for less affluent markets, running AOSP? That sounds to me like the perfect target for a CyanogenMod port...

      It sounds to me like the perfect target for a simple root, and installation of gapps and xposed framework. No need for CM. AOSP with a couple Xposed modules is nearly indistinguishable from CM. I suggest Rocket Player and Transparent Weather Clock to bring it up to feature parity, as well as a some of those modules like App Settings, and AppOps Exposed.

      • by DdJ (10790)

        It sounds to me like the perfect target for a simple root, and installation of gapps and xposed framework. No need for CM.

        Well, if you want to rip out the extra points of integration Nokia added to Microsoft services, CM might prove to be the simpler way to get that.

        Is there some reason I'm unaware of for avoiding CM?

  • by Nyder (754090) on Monday February 24, 2014 @11:53AM (#46323667) Journal

    Due to your spying on customers with your other phone, and of course, MS getting the spying results, I'll stick with my Obama phone, which I know just the NSA is spying on. At least I feel safe knowing that they aren't trying to make money off me, they are just making sure I don't turn terrorist.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's not April the first. What's going on? Has Nokia sold out to the evil empire or not? I thought they already gutted all their core products when they were setup the elop-bomb.

    I'd seriously consider getting one to replace my aging n900. Hopefully in black.

    • by Immerman (2627577)

      Maybe it's a little added incentive to make sure Microsoft doesn't back of of the deal at the last moment? Plus insurance in case the deal falls through anyway. Plus letting the engineers show off their work publicly now, because you know they won't get a chance if the deal goes through as planned.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Monday February 24, 2014 @12:04PM (#46323781)
    For a phone product line that runs a bastardized version of Android, which doesn't provide access to Play store out of the box, and that is produced by a company shortly be absorbed into Microsoft
    • My pessimistic thinking is that MS will have an excuse not to run Andoid when these fail. Many here have longed for the Nokia hardware but running Android instead of WP8. By making it craptacularly bad, MS can later say that Android doesn't work for them.
      • by DrXym (126579)
        It wouldn't be the first time they've used lame excuses like that. Microsoft had an Internet Explorer for Unix which was quite awful. Then when people chose to ignore it they blamed the low demand rather than the shitiness of their product.
  • Finally! It will be amusing to hear what Microsoft execs have to say once they sell more Android phones than Windows Mobile ones.

    One would think that using an OS created by a Finn in a phone from a Finnish company is a no-brainer; took them a long, long time.

  • It can have strategic goal to advance Android fragmentation? Granted, rather expensive one at it...

  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Monday February 24, 2014 @01:02PM (#46324343)

    Don't think of this as an Android phone, it will never be marketed that way.

    Think of it as a new operating system than just so happens to be easy enough to have Android apps ported to it.

    If the changes to support maps, in-app billing and the Nokia store are as simple as Nokia makes out to be - then it's a bit of a no brainer for developers to do. Especially since it's far less effort than building a new app for a whole new platform (like, say, Tizen).

    Finally, yes, Nokia could have just shoved out a pure Android phone with decent hardware - but, against the mighty Samsung's advertising budget and the fact that all the other OEMs are unable to turn a profile - how exactly do people think that Nokia will make enough money?

    Not to mention that Nokia would be beholden to Google and where Google wants to take Android, which may not be in their best interests. It's a gutsy move, but if they didn't do something radically different then there is an extremely good chance that they'd just be another Android OEM making a loss.

    Even the highly praised Moto X had a price cut in January - an immediate indication that it's not selling as well as hoped.

    • by Rob Y. (110975)

      ...as opposed to another Windows Phone OEM making a loss?

      the only winners at Nokia are the ones that got bonuses for engineering the MS buyout. It's an all-too-common business plan.
      1. Put out a largely vaporous business plan.
      2. Operate for a few years as though that plan can work.
      3. Sell the company to company B that you've duped into believing that success is just around the corner.

      rinse, repeat...

      The company I work for is currently on step 6:
      4. Company B realizes they've bought a lemon, outsources all de

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      ...and with that first sentence the process of turning Android OS into a closed-source Google product is now complete.

  • Development website (Score:3, Informative)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday February 24, 2014 @01:17PM (#46324473) Homepage Journal

    Those of us who need more information on the technical side of the version of Android shipped with this phone can look here [nokia.com] for more information. They include an APK checker (no, not Mr Hosts...) that looks for common problems (presumably anything that calls GMS)

  • This seems like a pretty bad implementation of Android.

    Maybe that's the point. A lot of people say that if Nokia went with Android, they'd be much better off than they are now. Maybe this half-assed attempt was ordered by Elop and his MS masters so that Nokia can say "See, we did try Android, and it didn't change anything. This is why we needed Microsoft"

  • With all the wonderful NSA revelations coming out, it has become clear that there is a growing, and eventually huge, market for non US communications hardware. Nokia is completely blowing this buy getting into bed with Microsoft. They should buy out Blackberry and make a line of uber encryption phones and then not cave into any government demands to weaken the encryption.

    With Qt Nokia dipped their toes into the open source waters and thus should be able to understand that they could publish their securit
    • This is indeed a golden opportunity which should be seized by Jolla (of ex-Nokia/Sailfish fame) as a purely european manufacturer to market high quality phones that are immune to all sorts of NSA backdoors/gag orders/NSLs etc etc. I sincerely hope they are smart enough to jump on it!
  • Just an observation, with the introduction of AOSP-based phones that don't license the Google Mobile Services, Nokia is now no longer able to license GMS, e.g., if they wanted to make a Android-trademarked phone. That is, without ceasing production of these devices.
  • There's nothing to prevent Microsoft from continuing this effort, and in fact offering this AOSP-based operating system to other OEMs, for their use. They can even sweeten the deal by negotiating in that no fee for (purported) patent violations will be included. That would be an interesting strategy - they could still focus on WP for mid-to-high end devices, while attempting to ride Android's app popularity into the developing markets. And if they added the ability to run Android apps into WP, then there'd
  • Microsoft is not buying Nokia, only the Devices & Services division of Nokia, which includes its phone business. However, that might not prevent Nokia from setting up a new phones business. Perhaps it doesn't make much sense, as Microsoft does get the right to use Nokia brand for 10 years, so re-entering phone business would be rather confusing for Nokia.

    Now, if the Android phone is made by the Devices & Services division, it will be transferred to Microsoft, and the Android products may be terminat

  • I'd buy it.... as soon as it's supported by Cyanogenmod.

  • "Xtend"... Obviously... Duh...

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.

Working...