Why Nokia is building 'Android' phones

Nokia Introduces Its First Android-powered Smartphones at MWC 2014

View gallery

19 photos

In an unprecedented move, Nokia announced not one but three budget smartphones running a forked version of Android. By "forked" we mean the Nokia X, Nokia X+, and Nokia XL are based on an open-source build of the wildly popular operating system and have no access to either Play store and Google-specific services such as Gmail. Still, cheap Android phones from Nokia that cost no more than $150 (about P6,700) should draw a lot of interest, especially from emerging markets like the Philippines.

The announcement comes after Microsoft bought Nokia for $7.35 billion in December 2013. As we all know, Microsoft has its own Windows Phone mobile operating system, which competes with Android. What's up here? Yahoo Tech had the chance to talk to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who explained that "using Android does not affect Nokia's allegiance to its parent, but rather that it represented the best opportunity to sell more smartphones for less money."

Nokia currently competes in the higher priced segment of the phone market, but it was once the king of the budget handset category. And because the smartphone market of developing countries, where affordable devices are popular, has grown "four times that of the overall industry, that's very much worth pursuing, particularly given Nokia's heritage in emerging markets," Elop explained. "It's a great opportunity for us, and we think we've done it in a way that is coherent across the different product lines."

There's a theory that the company may eventually kill its Android line, like what it did to Symbian. Then again, we can look at it this way: With Nokia "removing apps like Gmail and Google Maps and replacing them with Outlook and Bing Maps, and tying cloud services to Microsoft’s OneDrive offering, instead of Google Drive," that may just be a great way to lure Android users. If Microsoft and Nokia can't get Android phone owners to switch to Windows Phone, then the two may just as well do what Amazon did and get users of their rival platform to use Microsoft products. It could be a win-win situation.

For now, let us sit back, enjoy the show happening right before us, and see what happens in the future. (By Alora Uy Guerrero)

NOTE: Check out the gallery to see what the Nokia X, Nokia X+, and Nokia XL look like.

View Comments (0)