One of the most fascinating reveals following the Microsoft-Nokia acquisition saga was the existence of the Nokia X Android line of smartphones. Nokia’s first substantial non-Windows Phone product may have been a major contributing factor in pushing the acquisition through, but Microsoft hasn’t yet been able to quash the Nokia X line at the source. As the deal has yet to be finalized, Nokia has taken this opportunity to introduce the Android phones to the public at Mobile World Congress this week.
The Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL smartphones are all budget devices, seemingly targeted at developing markets rather than competition for the Galaxy S5 and its ilk, but does Microsoft have any use for this lineup? It’ll be a few months before we know one way or the other, but ZDNet’s James Kendrick doesn’t think so.
Kendrick believes that once the acquisition is complete, “these new phones aren’t long for this world.” Microsoft, unlike Samsung or Nokia or any other phone maker, has a vested interest in a single operating system. Microsoft phones should run Windows Phone OS, but in the next several months, three Microsoft phones will run Android. Those phones will also have the Nokia brand plastered all over them.
Another issue with Nokia’s Android phones: they can’t access the Google Play store. Nokia utilized an open source version of Android for X line, avoiding any Google services and integrating Microsoft instead. Without Google Play, “the potentially lucrative app market” is virtually closed off for Microsoft, providing Microsoft would even consider selling smartphones that ran Google’s Android.
Microsoft is about to find itself caught between a rock and a hard place, but when it comes to crunch time, Kendrick just doesn’t see Microsoft maintaining a line of Android products:
“It’s not clear what Microsoft might do with these Android phones from Nokia, but the more I think about it the less likely I think it is the company will keep them around very long. The negatives outweigh the positives any way I look at it. I fully expect the Nokia X line to be ‘kinned’ shortly after Microsoft owns them.”