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Nokia introduces Android-based X family

Forked OS means no Google Play access

Nokia introduces Android-based X family
The Nokia X range runs a customised version of Android.

Nokia, weeks before formal acquisition by Microsoft Corp, released its first ever smartphone to run Android at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Android version running on the Nokia X range is not standard. It appears to be a forked version that builds features onto the open-source elements of the platform and delivers a Windows Phone-like homescreen.

The Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL are targeting the low-price smartphone market and are aligned to Microsoft services like Skype, OneDrive and outlook.com. But users who hear the word "Android" and expect to be able to access Google Play will be disappointed. Nokia will give access to its own store and those of some other third-party download sites for access to Android apps, which need some minor alterations to work with the X platform.

With the X family Nokia has delivered the same Lumia-style chassis and tile-based user interface, along with Fastlane, a screen which is designed for faster app switching. Also included is HERE Maps and Nokia MixRadio and a number of third-party apps and games.

The Nokia X, comes with a 4-inch IPS capacitive display and 3MP camera. The Nokia X+ is optimised for multimedia (games, music, photos and video) and comes with more RAM and storage. Both the Nokia X and Nokia X+ will be available in bright green, bright red, cyan, yellow, black and white.

The Nokia XL, scrapes into the phablet category with a 5-inch display. It comes with a 5MP main camera and a 2MP front-facing alternate. The Nokia XL will be available in bright green, orange, cyan, yellow, black and white.

The Nokia X range is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor and supports Dual SIM.

The Nokia X will go on sale immediately, starting at an unsubsidised EUR89 and rolling out in a number of territories including the Middle East. The Nokia X+ and Nokia XL are expected to follow early in the second quarter, priced at EUR 99 and EUR 109, respectively. Pricing has not been confirmed for the Middle East.

Running Windows Phone has tied Microsoft smartphone vendor partners to a rigid and pricey design for their handsets, while the relative freedom enjoyed by those making Android phones has allowed vendors such as Samsung to soak up revenue from emerging markets.

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