Could Microsoft's new Android-to-Windows stepping stone, the Nokia X2, actually work?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: June 26, 2014

 

It’s an Android! It’s a Windows Phone! Or maybe it’s both - again - with the recent announcement of a second generation of the infamous Nokia X line, the Nokia X2 (running on Android - not to be confused with the Nokia X2-0x, which ran on Nokia S40). The first generation Nokia X phone was nothing short of a flop (at least here in the states), but apparently was popular enough in other parts of the world to warrant a second attempt with this next generation model. Could this second attempt at creating an Android/Windows Phone hybrid be the thing that ultimately brings more users to Windows Phone?

 

I’ll admit, I was less than thrilled with the original Nokia X. Although a lower-end device, when it came to Nokia and Windows Phone I had high expectations for decent performance even in the lower end devices. It’s kind of what made Windows Phone so awesome - you didn’t need high-end specs to make the device perform smoothly. On the other hand, with Nokia X being based on Android, it’s important to take into consideration that compared to Windows Phone, low-end Androids generally don’t perform as well with the same spec listing. Looking at just about any review video made of the device, it’s easy to see that the device is painfully laggy even while performing some of the most simple of tasks.

 

It’s also important to note that the Nokia X ran on what’s called a “forked” version of Android, meaning that while its base is technically Android, the phone came without Google services or even a Google Play Store. You only have access to Nokia’s app store, which is pretty bare compared to the Google Play Store. Still, at least you can take solace in knowing that you have access to some major applications such as Facebook, Netflix, Skype, and Microsoft services. That doesn’t really make it very Android-y though, does it?

 

So, back to the Nokia X2. What’s different about this phone? Not a whole lot. With a 4.3-inch 800x480 display, a Snapdragon 200 processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory (with SD card slot), and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera this phone is still sitting on the low-end of the spectrum. The same rules apply to the X2 as it did the X: running on a forked version of Android, but without anything Google-related on there. In its place, Nokia and Microsoft-run applications. On the plus side, at least you have Nokia’s signature tanky build and bright colors, so there’s that.

 

The X2 likely won’t make any appearances in the states, but I feel like an Android/Windows Phone hybrid phone could actually do rather well here if done right. I like the services of Android and I like the simplicity of Windows Phone. I feel like the two could mesh well, but it’s going to take a little more Android flavor (and a boost in specs, if we’re going that route) to really win people over on such a device. Otherwise, it’s not a convincing switch. Personally, I think that Microsoft and Nokia would be better off without the current Nokia X line. They should keep focusing on showing people how low-end Windows Phones can out-perform low-end Android devices (well, for the most part).

 

A Nokia phone running on Android has been a dream for many for a long time, but if this is Microsoft’s best attempt at trying to make it happen, I think it’s safe to say that the dream can be securely locked away in the “Not Happening” box in the back of our minds.