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AH Primetime: What Does Microsoft Think about the 1 Million Nokia X’s on Order?

March 19, 2014 - Written By Cory McNutt

A Nokia device running a heavily modified version of Android – I am not sure whether those words are more upsetting to Microsoft or Google. On one hand you have Nokia, a company that would probably be flourishing now if they hadn’t listened to their Microsoft-bred CEO and switched directly to Android – users respected the Nokia name, it had worldwide recognition, it just needed guidance from a Board of Directors that had steered the company incorrectly down every turn on the road of transition. On the other hand, you have a huge giant, Microsoft, that wants to push their own Windows Phone agenda so that they will have a PC, laptop, tablet, and smartphone all playing and working together – the only problem is that nobody seems to want to buy into that dream, even their soon-to-be $7 billion acquisition of Nokia.

On another hand (yes, I can have three hands), you have Google that loves to spread their Android OS all over the world so that they can continue to pull-in those advertising bucks – but this heavily modified version of Android that the Nokia X uses, strips away much of Google’s identity and its apps (Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, etc.) and replaces them with Microsoft apps (Outlook, Skype, OneDrive)…no more Google Play Store for Apps, but a special Microsoft App store. One really has to be thinking what Microsoft will do after their acquisition of Nokia is complete in the next couple of months. It is almost as if a renegade child of theirs made a last-ditch attempt to prove to the world that a Nokia Android based phone could flourish in the world outside the Windows Phone – and with over 1 million pre-orders in China, they may just be making their point. I am also curious why China has over a million pre-orders for the Nokia X – do they know something about the device that we do not? Is it the Nokia name recognition combined with the Android OS or is it strictly a pricing thing – selling for about $140 in India. There a many other cheap phones out there and most are made in China and some pretty good ones at that.

On the outside, Microsoft is acting like a proud parent showing support for the non-Windows Phone saying it is a good idea that will spread the familiarity of the “windows-like” interface, but one has to wonder if they are teething inside, wondering what to do next. With so much interest in the device, it would be hard for them to call it a failure and cancel the device once they take complete control over Nokia, yet it is just another indication that an Android OS might be just what the doctor ordered for Nokia. Microsoft was considering doing away with the Nokia name altogether and if the Nokia X proves to be so popular, would Microsoft dare pull-the-plug on the name? Is it possible that Microsoft may keep the Nokia name for its Android based phone and call their Windows Phone by another name – maybe Winok, Win-Nok, Nok-Win, etc.? I know, I’m just playing with you! But it does bring up an interesting point about brand recognition and naming – something else that Microsoft’s new CEO will need to think about.

I must also mention that Nokia announced not one, but three devices – Nokia X, Nokia X+, and the Nokia XL – at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February. All devices were designed with the emerging markets in mind with the low-end Nokia X being first released. Will Nokia release the other models before Microsoft takes over or will Microsoft stop any more models from being released? These questions and many more will be answered over the next couple of months. As an interested Android observer, it will be interesting to see how Google and the Android community greet this hybrid device and how many Android Apps will run on this ‘forked’ version of Android. I suppose both Microsoft and Google will both put a ‘positive spin’ on the Nokia X with both camps claiming victory, although I think Microsoft will have some extra ‘spinning’ to do to convince themselves that the Nokia X is in any way a good thing for their Windows Phone. Please jump on our Google+ Page and voice your opinion on Microsoft and Nokia as companies and the new Nokia X and how it will affect both Microsoft and Google’s Android operating system…we would love to hear your observations.

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