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Don’t Worry, You Can Turn The Nokia X Into A Real Android Phone With Ease

March 11, 2014 - Written By Patrick Northcraft

What do you call something that is a weird Frankenstein-style mix of operating systems?  That question is what is plaguing us phone-lovers… specifically with the Nokia X family.  The phone is technically running on Android, but you really can’t tell that just from looking at it.  It has a Windows Phone style UI with tiles and such, but it cannot access either the Windows App Store or Google Play, instead relying on Nokia’s own app service.  The phone is not meant to support apps from Google Play, but the build quality of the phones themselves seem pretty solid and, even though the internal specs leave much to be desired, they seem like they have the potential to access the market Nokia is aiming it towards.

The largest issue here is the software.  The UI is not the neatest thing to use, and it makes tasks seem like you are not even doing them on an Android phone.  Now, there is a very simple way to fix this that does not even involve rooting the phone… just sideload a launcher onto the device.  If you are not familiar with that term, all it means is to go into your device settings, head to the security option, and permit the phone to install applications from ‘unknown sources’ (meaning anything other than Nokia’s app store).  Then, just go and download your launcher of choice in .apk format and install it.  It’s as easy as that.  While the stock launcher will still be on the phone, you won’t be able to see it.

That solution only deals with aesthetic appeal… there is still the issue of not being able to access the extremely diverse and growing Android ecosystem.  However, do not fret!  There is a way to do this as well.  First, you need to root your device.  The Nokia X is extremely easy to root.  Check out the XDA link to get the intimate details.  Basically, it involves using an exploit included in an app.  Then, you need to download and sideload a root-capable file manager.  From the link, download a copy of the Nokia X specific GApps package to the /system/app folder and give it all the permissions it asks for.  Then reboot your phone and install all the .apk files from the appropriate sources.  Right there, you will have a successfully converted Nokia phone.

Now the big question is:  Should this be done?  I feel that it should be done without hesitation.  The phone as it is has a mixed bag of internals that do not work cleanly together.  This process streamlines things and allows for the phone to be customized and set up in whatever way the owner feels most appropriate.  With root access, many things can be done.  Hopefully, sometime down the road, we may see some ROM support for the Nokia X for more updated versions of Android that would work well on the limited hardware that the phone has… but this is just my own opinion.  What do you think?  Is the stock Nokia X a real Android phone, or should we continue to modify it to make it more like one?  Let us know that and any other thoughts down below in the comments!