Nokia X release date and OS
Nokia’s Android ambitions have come to fruition and if you want to see what we think so far you can head straight on over to our hands on reviews of the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL.
If you fancy getting to know the trio of handsets at once, stick around and we’ll reveal the specs, the design, the release dates and the price of each of these unusual handsets.
It started out as a pie-in-the-sky rumour: Nokia is making an Android device. Surely not, given the Finnish firm has only recently been acquired by software giant (and the Windows Phone peddling) Microsoft. So why would Nokia jump into bed with the enemy?
While many eyebrows were raised, and eyes rolled, when news of the Nokia X first took to the web (under the moniker Normandy), the sheer deluge of leaks added more and more credibility to the handset’s existence.
And then it was made official. At MWC 2014, Stephen Elop took to the stage to announce the arrival of the Nokia X, X+ and Nokia XL.
The Nokia X and Nokia X+ are bedfellows – all that separates them are the amount of RAM they have.
The Nokia X has just 512MB, while the Nokia X+ has a slightly more generous 768MB and comes with a 4GB microSD card in the box. As for the Nokia XL, this is a low-cost phablet with a 5-inch screen.
Cut to the chase
What is it? Nokia’s first smartphone to run Google’s Android OS
When is it out? Now, the Nokia X+ and Nokia XL arrive in Q2
What will it cost? It’s cheap: €89, €99 (X+) and €109 (XL)
Nokia X release date and price
Most Nokia X rumours highlighted MWC 2014 in Barcelona as the platform for the Nokia Android smartphone to make its international appearance, and they weren’t wrong.
Announced on February 24, the Nokia X was revealed by Stephen Elop, who said that the new device was indeed Android but with a difference. "The Nokia X is built on Android open source software. We have differentiated and added our own experience," he said.
We did learn that the Nokia X would be launching imminently and cost just €89 (around £75, $120, AU$135), while Nokia X+ and Nokia XL will be arriving in selected markets during the second quarter of the year for €99 (around £80, $135, AU$150) and €109 (around £90, $150, AU$170) respectively.
We got hands on with the Nokia X+ at MWC 2014:
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYO5VFyCYTA
Nokia X operating system
The single biggest feature on the Nokia X (X+ and XL) is its operating system. Nokia is heavily invested in the Windows Phone platform for its Lumia range, while its Asha devices run its own, in-house Asha OS.
The Nokia X range runs Android. But not the Android you know (and perhaps love). This is a heavily modified version that is built on Android open source software.
This isn’t an Android that comes with the Google Play store. This is an Android that has been moulded and contorted into an operating system that runs and looks more like Windows Phone.
There are live tiles just like Windows Phone, but you will be able modify the handset a little more freely than on Windows Phone.
At the press conference, Elop showed off the OS and it is definitely Android flavoured, but with a distinctly Windows Phone feel. Essentially it marries the design language of Windows Phone to the more open nature of Android with a touch of Asha thrown in for good measure.
For example its uses a version of the Asha "Fast Lane" feature, which shows all your recent activity, from new messages to the last apps you used and it can be customised to hide specific information so it only shows you what you want to see.
Nokia has put its own Android store on to the device (giving you a more limited selection than Google Play) and there will be a number of apps pre-installed on to the device.
Unsurprisingly these are mostly Microsoft (OneDrive, Skype etc) and Nokia (HERE Maps, HERE Drive and Mix Radio) offerings – with some apps only available on the Finnish firm’s version of Android.
This is definitely a forked version of Android with Elop noting that the Nokia X takes people to Microsoft’s cloud and not Google’s.
The lack of Google Play could be a major stumbling block for the Nokia X and its brethren as Nokia’s own store is likely to be comparatively lacking for a long time to come. But you can also use third party app stores and Elop does say that Android devs can bring their apps to Nokia X – it only takes a few extra hours dev work – and people can sideload applications using a microSD card.
The fact that porting apps is so easy also means that the Nokia X range could quickly end up with a greater selection of them than any Windows Phone handset, even if it’s not likely to deliver the full library of Android apps.
Enterprising users needn’t be limited at all as the Nokia X has already been hacked to run Google Play and Google apps.
Nokia X screen, design and specs
Nokia X screen
The Nokia X was tipped to sport a middle of the road 4-inch display with a mediocre 480 x 854 resolution. And this is exactly what we got.
The official specs explain that the Nokia X screen is a PS LCD WVGA (800 x 480) touchscreen capacitive 4-inch display. It’s not something that is going to set the world on fire but it is in keeping with the low-cost nature of the handset.
It’s not the best screen around but it’s responsive and has vibrant colours and deep blacks, making it surprisingly good for such a low end handset.
The Nokia X+ has exactly the same screen, but the Nokia XL as the name suggests sports a larger 5-inch 800 x 480 display.
Of course by upping the size without increasing the resolution the end result is far from the sharpest screen on the market.
Nokia X design
All the leaked screenshots that came out of the Nokia X, hinted that it was on course to be more of the same from the Finnish firm. And this is indeed the case.
A unibody design in a range of bright colours is status quo at Nokia at the moment and the Nokia X trio are almost identical to the firm’s latest range of Asha smartphones.
The official colours for the Nokia X and Nokia X+ are: bright green, bright red, cyan, yellow, black and white, while the Nokia XL will be available in orange, blue, yellow, green, black and white.
When it comes to thickness and the like, the dimensions of the Nokia X and Nokia X+ are: 115.5 x 63 x 10.4mm and they weigh in at 128.66g.
The Nokia XL unsurprisingly comes in a little bigger and heavier, at 141.3 x 77.7 x 10.8mm and 190g, making it a fairly chunky beast.
Here’s what the leakers tipped for the Nokia X before launch – they were pretty spot on.
The Nokia X was teased by Twitter leaker @Vizileaks, who posted the following snap online with the "and the waiting game begins…" – oh, you tease.
Then there was @evleaks who showed off six color options (green, white, yellow, blue, red and black) as well as a single key below the screen – the same as the Nokia Asha 503.
If that wasn’t enough in terms of colours, a picture of an orange handset claiming to be the Nokia X has also appeared online – although even the site that picked it up said "authenticity [of the images] is far from proven."
It seems that this was indeed a fake, as while the Nokia XL is coming out in orange the closest we have to orange for the Nokia X is Red. Unless the red and yellow handset had a baby that we don’t know about, the below picture is a piece of rubbish plastic and nothing more.
There were also more leaks apparently showing the Nokia X on and working, revealing Here Maps will be included on the device, and potentially pointing towards a lack of Google’s own suite of apps such as Maps and the Play Store.
Again, those leakers were exactly right: there is no Play store.
Nokia X specs
The Nokia X was tipped to sport a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, Adreno 302 GPU and 512MB of RAM – hardly worth writing home about, but once again it reinforces the "budget" angle.
And these specs hit the mark. It is indeed a 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB eMMC.
The Nokia X+ and XL have almost identical core specs, but they have a slightly beefier 768MB of RAM. In our time with the phones so far we’ve found that they can all handle any task you throw at them, but there can be some stuttering.
Although there were rumours that the Nokia X would come with a 5MP snapper capable of 720p HD video capture, this wasn’t the case. It comes with a 3MP fixed-focus camera, as does the Nokia X+, but those rumours weren’t totally wrong as the Nokia XL actually does have a 5 megapixel camera. It also has a larger 1/4" sensor, compared to the 1/5" sensors on the Nokia X and X+.
All three handsets can shoot 480p video at 30fps and while neither the Nokia X or Nokia X+ have a front facing snapper the Nokia XL one-ups them here too, with a 2 megapixel camera on the front.
Word of 4GB of internal storage was rather disappointing (especially as the operating system will take up a chunk of it), but the Nokia X will also rock a microSD card slot as was leaked in this spec list and the Nokia XL has the same storage potential.
There is also the Nokia X+. This is set to come with the same amount of built in storage as the X and XL, but there’s also a 4GB microSD card included in the box.
For any battery fans out there the Nokia X was rumoured to have a 1500mAh juice pack, which turned out to be completely true. This is more than enough to keep the average screen and processor chugging along. The Nokia X+ has exactly the same battery and the Nokia XL boosts the size to 2000 mAh, but it’s likely to need that extra juice to drive its 5 inch screen.