Most customers probably have not heard of Nokia’s new line of “X” smartphones yet. They will all use the Android operating system, and set Nokia in the position of directly competing with Android. The X-phones are priced for the more economically minded customer, with a lower price point than an iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy line or Nokia’s own Lumia. None of them are slated to be released in North America, Western Europe, Japan or Korea, either.
Perhaps most significantly, they are specifically designed to be used with Microsoft services like Skype, Onedrive and Outlook.com. This is powering speculation that Microsoft, which is on the cusp of buying Nokia, is trying to bridge Nokia’s Android customers into switching over to Window’s Phones in the future – probably through Nokia’s Lumia phones – and away from Androids, permanently. This seems to indicate that Nokia’s Androids are competing with Android.
Google, which developed the Android operating system, as well as Microsoft, which entered the smartphone foray via its Windows Phones, have been in hot competition with each other for years. The Nokia X, which is heading for less developed regions like Asia, Eastern Europe and South America, may decide who will rule.
Right now, it seems more likely that the Nokia X line is a stepping stone. In time Microsoft’s interest in the X-phones may fade in favor of the Lumia, which is the Windows Phone flagship. The Nokia X, X+, and XL showcased at the 2014 Mobile World Congress, and might eventually be destined for the sidelines of this war, should Microsoft determine these new releases are more detrimental than helpful, to their long-term goals. Microsoft may decide they want their customers to focus exclusively on Windows Phone. With the X line’s lower pricing, there is some potential for these new releases to drown out the Lumia. This will be particularly true should customers decide the higher ticket prices that come with Windows Phones simply aren’t justifiable.
However, while Nokia’s Android is competing with the Android, that justification will certainly be important to consider, because an even larger Nokia-Microsoft trend is likely in the works. The recently christened Nokia Advanced Technologies is making strides all throughout the world of electronic integration. Research and development at Nokia Advanced Technologies will focus not so much on developing new technologies, but on linking together those we already have.
Telephones will talk to televisions, TV’s will talk to cars, the garage will talk to the house lights, or perhaps even to toothbrushes and hairbrushes. That is, assuming enough developers decide there is something worth saying between hairbrushes and toothbrushes in the first place; at least in terms of dollars and cents. The tale of the Nokia X may end up being just a blip in a much larger tale, rather than a game changer.
Whether Microsoft has decided that the Nokia Androids fighting the other Androids is the best way to go, or whether in time it will leave the Nokia X behind to redouble its efforts with the Windows Phones, it is still likely to be a stiff competition. Between the iPhones and the Androids, the smartphone market is all but dominated by Google and Apple. This presents an intense uphill battle for Microsoft, but as Microsoft has shown over the years, it is in the game for the long haul.
By Ryan O’Keefe