The best aspect of the Android ecosystem is its versatility and the fact that the ecosystem is open source, which implies that any developer or organization can make changes to the ecosystem to suit their needs. However, so much versatility comes at a price as well - forking. Forking is not something new by Nokia, as a matter of fact, Amazon is also guilty of forking Android for their Kindle line. However, Nokia gains prominence because of its previous allegiances with Microsoft Windows Phone OS and the undeniable truth that their mobile division is now, for all practical purposes, a Microsoft company.
At the Mobile World Congress, Nokia has announced its X line - Asha-ish phones but which run a forked version of Android instead of the now-dead Symbian OS. By forking Android, Nokia has essentially kept Google services off the X series devices, and has managed to placate their boss Microsoft by designing a tile-based launched which resembles the tiled Metro interface of Windows Phone as well as the Fastlane notifications aggregator. However, users who would buy an Android device would definitely want to customize the handset to reflect their own tastes.
Despite the fact that Nokia X would not support Google Play, it is possible to install Android apps via sideloading. We'll come back to side loading in an instant, before that, be informed that Android applications are packed in executable files called APKs. If you do not download an app (or its APK from Google Play) you can simply move the APK file of the app onto your phone and then install it from there directly. This process is called sideloading. If the information attributed to a Nokia executive is correct, then sideloading of APKs on the Nokia X is definitely possible.
This translates into users being able to install new applications, possibly even a launcher, on their Nokia X phone. Though Google apps may be installed via APKs, it is possible that certain apps may not work, as Nokia may have purposefully omitted some APIs which would be necessary to run Google's apps. However, given Android's open source nature, we believe some dev would sooner rather than later re-compile Google Apps to run on the Nokia X.
Since as of yet we do not have our paws on a Nokia X, we cannot confirm this news for sure. However, rest assured, once we get our hands on a Nokia X, we would definitely test this theory out. In the meantime, stay posted with us for more news from the MWC.