Under the tagline "connecting the next billion to the Internet," Nokia unveiled its first Android-based mobile handsets, the Nokia X series, at the Mobile World Congress on Monday.
The Nokia X, Nokia X+, and Nokia XL devices are priced between $122 and $150. Nokia is pinning its hopes on the new series getting a real share of what it deems a growth market in the emerging economy.
"Nokia has connected billions of people around the world, and today we demonstrated how our portfolio is designed to connect the next billion people to great experiences." Stephen Elop, Nokia's executive vice president of devices and services, said in a press release.
But if Nokia's ultimate goal is going after the next billion users, as Elop said, the next obstacle for the Android-based Nokia X, priced at $122, is competing against a wave of $25 smartphones scheduled for launch this year on Firefox.
Nokia's push for Android might be too little too late, and it could end up short-lived.
The Nokia X, Nokia X+, and Nokia XL all run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor. They support Dual SIM, allowing users to switch SIM cards to get better tariffs -- a critical feature for many who live in countries like India and China.
The Nokia X features a four-inch IPS capacitive display, a three-megapixel camera, and 512MB RAM. Nokia will roll them out immediately in Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.
The Finnish company said the Nokia X+, also with a four-inch screen, is designed for "multimedia enthusiasts, who can enjoy even more games, music, photos and video," due to more memory (768 MB RAM) and storage.
The Nokia XL comes with a five-inch display, a two-megapixel front-facing camera (which Nokia calls "ideal for Skype video calls"), and a five-megapixel rear-facing, autofocus camera with flash.
The Nokia X+ and Nokia XL are scheduled for launch starting early in the second quarter and will be priced at $136 and $150, respectively.
Skepticism abounds as to how much push Microsoft actually will give to the Nokia X series once the sale of Nokia's handset division to Microsoft for $7.2 billion is complete in a few weeks.
It's been widely reported that, the day before Nokia unveiled the new phones at a press conference at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Joe Belfiore, who runs Microsoft's Windows Phone division, said of Nokia: "There are some things they do that we are excited about, and other things that we are not so excited about."
Faint praise, indeed.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times