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Nokia X, X+, XL launched, running Android with a Nokia and Microsoft twist

Chris Finnamore
24 Feb 2014
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Budget phones tied into Microsoft not Google services

It has finally happened – Nokia is moving into Android. The X range, consisting of the X, X+ and L, are built on Android, but with a hefty custom layer on top. Custom tiled interface aside, this also means the phone will use Microsoft's cloud services instead of Google's.

For example, Google Drive is out and OneDrive is in, and the phone will use Bing search as default. Most importantly, though, there's no access to the Google Play store. Instead, you will have a "curated" selection of apps from the Nokia store, as well as access to third-party app stores such as Yandex and SlideMe. This does cut down on your choice of apps, but you can at least sideload apps from an SD card, so will be ok if you don't mind getting your hands slightly dirty.

Nokia X, X+, XL

The chief problem is if you want to use apps which rely on the Google APIs which have been replaced with Microsoft ones. According to Nokia, most apps will work, but some may require tweaking if they rely on the missing APIs. We're fairly sure an enterprising programmer will find a way to get Google Play onto the devices, but that may require rooting the phone.

Nokia X, X+, XL

Cheap as a copyrighted catchphrase

The X range is in some ways an odd hybrid, but one thing is for sure; the phones are cheap, starting at just €89n for the 4in X, rising to €99 for the X+ with its extra storage and €109 for the 5in XL – the firm has yet to reveal further spec details. Nokia plans for the X range to undercut the Lumia range, with Nokia's new innovations appearing on a Lumia handset first.

We'll bring you a hands-on review of Nokia's X Phones soon.

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