Did you think Microsoft would unceremoniously axe the Nokia X line of budget Android phones the minute it finalized its acquisition of the one-time Finnish mobile icon’s handset division? Well, think again. Former Nokia CEO and current Microsoft exec Stephen Elop said on Friday that the newly formed Microsoft Mobile division will remain “committed to continuing our support for feature phones, the Asha family, and the Nokia X family of devices, announced at the Mobile World Congress in February.”
Although it would have once been heresy for Microsoft to consider making devices that run on rival platforms, the company was late to the party when it comes to mobile devices and it really can’t afford to be too choosy when it comes to getting its software onto more smartphones and tablets.
What makes the Nokia X phones an interesting proposition is that, even though they’re based on Android, they’ve been heavily modified to look like Windows Phone’s user interface and come preloaded with lots of Microsoft apps. In other words, the Nokia X is sort of a stealthy way to get Android users hooked onto the Windows Phone UI and Microsoft mobile app ecosystem.
It’s not known yet whether Microsoft will keep producing new Android-based phones, but we’d have to imagine that the company would give it a shot if the Nokia X line proves to be a hit in emerging markets.