Nokia

Nokia X Intends To Convert Android Users, Not To Appease Them

Nokia X unveil at the Mobile World Congress 2014 a couple of weeks back and the official launch in India earlier this week was met with same surprise reactions and passionate arguments as Leonardo DiCaprio missing out on an Academy Award yet again.

While I can stay on the fence on Leo's tryst on the Hollywood Boulevard, I'd definitely side with Nokia on their new adventure with the Nokia X family of devices. The Nokia X family of smartphones underscores the company's commitment to connect the next billion with affordable smartphones for growth economies. If you think Nokia going Android is the story as is, you'd be missing the point.

In growth markets like India, Android owns the market share because of the ecosystem and a variety of devices on the shelves. While the cheaper Windows Phone devices like the Nokia Lumia 520 have allowed Nokia to indulge in that playground, the Nokia X devices give Nokia more impetus to fight for the next billion smartphones.

Based on Android Open Source Project (AOSP), the Nokia X family features a fresh, tile-based user interface inspired by the Nokia Lumia family. The build and design follows the Nokia identity as seen in the Asha and Lumia devices. While the phones bring to you the world of Android apps, these devices aim to provide an on-ramp to Nokia signature experiences like MixRadio and HERE and Microsoft services like Skype, OneDrive, and Outlook.com

The Nokia X devices give the customers the benefits of app selection on the Android ecosystem backed up by Microsoft cloud services and a Windows Phone-like user experience. Essentially, the Nokia user experience stays the same across the families, and the consistency provides a unified identity and service stack. Nokia would attempt to hook first-time smartphone buyers or customers on a budget with a sub INR 10,000 device, and then aim to move them up the device chain to the more expensive Lumia range.

It's not about embracing Android, and neither about competing in the budget smartphone category. Nokia Lumia 520 has done pretty well, and with the support for Snapdragon 200 and 400 series, the price band will be taken care of as well.

Banking on its brand reputation in emerging markets combined with the durability of the device, this is an audacious and clever, almost shrewd, move by Nokia to target users of feature phones and low-cost Android phones. Nokia offers a differentiated experience - almost a Windows Phone in the guise of an Android phone.

Despite what you've heard from Windows Phone critics, the Nokia Lumia family is Nokia's primary smartphone platform. The innovations in devices and services would continue in their flagship series. The Nokia X on the other hand is a gateway to the Nokia world.

Nokia X is intended as a transition device, a Trojan horse that spurns Android off all Google services and introduces Microsoft services to potentially million first time smartphone users. You start with a Nokia X, and you graduate to a Nokia Lumia.
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