Nokia goes Android for three budget minded handsets

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Nokia may well be owned by the Windows Phone owning Microsoft, but that doesn’t mean the Finnish company isn’t keen to see what other operating systems it can use, as the company unveiling three phones running on Android. Sort of.

Shown this week at Spain’s Mobile World Congress, the international stage for pretty much every major smartphone announcement for the first half of the year, Nokia has pulled the covers off three products that have sent the rumour mill into high alert for the past few months.

The newbies in Nokia’s smartphone line-up are part of the brand’s “X” series, and make up the first Android handsets for Nokia, relying on a slight deviation of the typical Google Android customers are used to seeing on the devices like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z1, and LG G2.

Rather than rely on a typical Google-styled Android overlay, the new Nokia X series will instead be built from a simple grid interface with flat design and bright colours, similar to what Nokia offers in its Windows Phone-based handsets, and with that Microsoft ownership, will also offer applications linking users to services already under the Microsoft umbrella, such as Skype, Onedrive (formerly Skydrive) and Outlook.

With Android on-board, though, owners will be able to download apps normally made for Android, bypassing some of the limitations currently seen with Windows Phone, which relies on a specific Windows Marketplace store, and may not have all the apps customers are after.

“Today Windows Phone is the fastest growing mobile ecosystem in the world, and we continue to see incredible momentum with our Lumia smartphones,” said Bryan Biniak, Vice President and General Manager of the Developer Experience at Nokia.

“Now, with the introduction of the Nokia X family of devices, we’re delivering the same design, quality and innovation Nokia is known to lower price points to capture the fastest-growing segment of the smartphone market.”

Pricing for these expected “lower price points” isn’t yet known, but specs on the three new models are, with the handset range comprising of the X, X+, and the XL.

The first of these is basically the baby of the range, the X (above), with a 4 inch 800×480 IPS display, 1GHz Snapdragon dual-core processor, 3 megapixel camera, 512MB RAM, and 4GB storage with a microSD slot to expand on this.

The X+ takes the same body, but provides an extra boost of memory and adds a 4GB microSD in the box, and we’ll likely only see one or the other announced for Australia, if either are released locally at all.

If 4 inches isn’t big enough, Nokia will also offer the XL (below), which brings that 800×480 display to a 5 inch screen, pairing in with the same 768MB RAM and 4GB storage from the Nokia X+. The camera will be upgraded to a 5 megapixel here, though, and a front-facing 2 megapixel camera added, a feature missing on the X and X+.

All three handsets will also be dual SIM, which is a feature Australian smartphones don’t commonly see, except on budget devices normally means for other countries.

It’s important to note, though, that Nokia’s X series is a budget line-up, designed to give the company a spot in the budget Android game, of which you can now find smartphones for as little as $50 at supermarket registers.

We’ll let you know if or when Nokia Australia decides to announce a local price and availability for these units, but until then, feel free to gaze at the typically bright colours Nokia plans to make these smartphones available in.