Fight fire with fire: Nokia uses Android against Google, Microsoft opens the gates

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
With the announcement of the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL, Nokia and Microsoft have just turned the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) on its ear. Yes, on its ear. This is the kitchen sink being thrown at Google and it will feel the pinch. Microsoft also loosened the reigns just a bit on Windows Phone when it announced a slew of new manufacturers joining the gang.

In Microsoft’s case, it will basically allow manufacturers to use existing architecture and hardware design in the Windows Phone dynamic. That means the dedicated camera button is not going to be mandatory. Windows Phone 8.1 and its on-screen buttons further the “openness” of sorts. The trade-off is that Windows Phone arguably loses a bit of differentiation in the hardware, but gains attractiveness for manufacturers like Lenovo, based in China, and LG, a company with an ever growing and impressive war chest of ideas and talent.  Certainly Foxconn, who builds anything for anybody, will capitalize on this opportunity.

For Nokia, this is not a case of, “if you can’t beat them, join them” when it comes to these forked Android devices. This is all about Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft. Yeah, the Nokia X, et al, are built on AOSP, but that was merely a formality for Stephen Elop as he made his presentation. It was all about Skype, OneDrive, Outlook, Nokia Mix Radio, Skype, Outlook, OneDrive, “popular Microsoft services”…did I mention he talked about Skype and OneDrive? Google? Who’s that? Elop said it himself at the Nokia event at MWC, “…the next billion people to Microsoft.” Does anyone have any doubt that Microsoft does not have the stones or money to pull this off?

The new Nokia X family of devices are certainly not the absolute cheapest to hit the market, but they will get the job done. In an interview with Re/code, Mr. Elop specifically mentioned markets like Indonesia (a weakening BlackBerry stronghold), Vietnam and Russia as “growth” markets. At under €100 to get started (and that price curve will most definitely drop, look at the Nokia Lumia 520), Nokia forked Android, splashed Microsoft services throughout and rubbed it in Google’s eye. The Nokia X is a great way to grow people into Windows without the total change in user experience.

Now I will admit that it is too soon to see if this strategy will pay off, but I am betting it will. When you couple Nokia’s new front with Microsoft’s new OEM partners for Windows Phone, and the huge cut in licensing fees (70%) for Windows 8.1 on lower cost computers, that equals three big barrels taking aim at Google.

Moreover, Microsoft has momentum on its side since //Build/ is coming in April, more than two months ahead of Google I/O.  That is not to say Google is going to take any of this lying down, it’s just I cannot help but wonder if Google is not quietly wondering if it should have held on to Motorola so it could peddle an even more affordable Moto G-type device and have more direct control over its vision.

Instead, the market will soon see Android devices running a host of apps and services that are outstanding in their own right (HERE Maps, OneDrive, Skype, etc.), look a lot like Windows Phone, which looks a lot like that inexpensive laptop or tablet, which looks a lot like that computer at work. This serves Microsoft’s mantra of “one place for everything in your life.”  Android delivers an experience like that only in its dreams.

The growth and adoption rate of Android around the world is nothing short of stunning, there is no denying that success. Even with best sellers like the Lumia 520, Nokia took the fearless step to make its tent big enough for just about everyone. The Nokia X gives people more choices for their given device and it fights Google at its own game. When you consider that just about any Android app can be side-loaded on to an X, and it is a Nokia (brand loyalty), this adds an interesting ingredient to the mix. That mix is the “next billion people.”

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73 Comments

1. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Thanks, Nokia. Now we can get Microdcked and Scroogled at the same time. ;)

8. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

LMAO hahahaha

11. LiyanaBG

Posts: 381; Member since: Nov 07, 2013

well said PhoneArena! now google has to open its eyes

20. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Criminal thinking of microsoft... now who is going to do the same to microsoft?

47. Kyokado

Posts: 115; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

Microsoft open the gates. Like bill gates kinda gates?

63. Q-ART

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 09, 2013

yeah....Gates,Windows,Drives of an officce. this is all about a room, what the hell are they?

64. Kyokado

Posts: 115; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

A house. Thats worth alot. Apple is the just another fruit they put in the basket on top of their dining table as decor. Android is their robo dog

48. grapeseed87

Posts: 123; Member since: Mar 13, 2013

They can't. Since to do that they will have to enter WP arena. Not to mention the piles of cash MS makes off of Google, etc.

40. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Ironic how this is happening on the eve of MS acquisition of Nokia's devices and services division. I wonder why Eflop didn't do this earlier? This guy really is Benedict Arnold of the mobile market.

66. sgodsell

Posts: 7602; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Oh please like Microsoft didn't know about Nokia X coming down the pipes. Especially all this time they signed an exclusive contract to only pump out WP devices. Not to mention that Microsoft was paying Nokia 250 million per quarter. So Microsoft knew what was happening all along. Even before Nokia released the 3 Nokia X android forked versions, it was expected that Android was going to sell around a billion smartphones for just 2014. So clearly Microsoft is riding on the coattails of Android in order to generate numbers and revenue. Clearly Microsoft's WP could never do that task. The sales and adoption rate told Microsoft and the world that WP was never up for the job.

2. mmmanuuu

Posts: 403; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

If you cant beat them, blame them.

5. HansGoneInsane unregistered

Hope that means that Microsoft brings a full office App to Android Tablets and Phones in not too far future.

3. Jobayer

Posts: 167; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

Will get you burned XD

4. mayur007

Posts: 593; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

If u cant beat them use there resources but dont use them

6. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Hope Nokia closes down along side with flop in his grave. That's it I said it.

7. chocowii

Posts: 478; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Now give us Pureview X and take my money!

9. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

I want it too

13. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Hell yea.

22. Epicness1o1

Posts: 312; Member since: May 30, 2013

If they make it,I'll buy it and wont buy any phone in 5 other years

29. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Not going to happen, highend is reserved for Lumias, Nokia X etc is made to lure Android users over to WP hence the similar experience and MS services.

38. chocowii

Posts: 478; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Its all about money now on Nokia. They listened to consumers that they wanted and Android Nokia then they made it happen with Nokia X. Its not too long before they made a Pureview X. The next CES is just around the corner. The technology belongs to Nokia, not with Microsoft.

10. taojj

Posts: 33; Member since: Aug 01, 2013

Wow you have revealed a big secret. Phone Arena should change their name to Tube Light Arena.

12. androidrocks

Posts: 63; Member since: Apr 14, 2012

Buy a Nokia X --> root it (i'm sure the guys at XDA would get their hands onto one) --> remove micro$oft "alternatives" --> install google apps (not sure about play store) --> Problem solved

14. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Don't forgot to enable the on-screen buttons :) Or if possible, use the capacitive button to launch PIE controls (just an idea)

67. sgodsell

Posts: 7602; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

There is no way to know if this can be unlocked and rooted yet. Time will tell.

16. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

yeah about that there are some people out there who are annoyed by some of googles services. ie gmail is awsome but google plus is lame. google want to shove their services down customers throat and thats bad. i dont like microsofts approach either they want to force you to use their services. they should give user freedom to chose what they want. for example if i want email i use gmail. if i want social i use fb. btw if i was mandated to use anything i would have bought an iphone. but open source is what most people prefer.it means freedom.

25. uchihakurtz

Posts: 428; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

What if I told you that most custom ROMs provide minimal GApps packages and Google Plus isn't included. Also, Google Plus is a solid social network that some advanced users and developers like to use instead of FB.

27. chocowii

Posts: 478; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Its not that they want you to forcefully use those services. Remember WP and Android uses Microsoft and Google's, respectively, their own eco system. Therefore, in the name of apps. Google has plethora of apps that is counterpart of what Microsoft has. Plus, Google doesn't develop for WP. In MS side, you use Windows Live account which holds your OneDrive, Hotmail and People accounts in one place. To make it short, these apps dont force you to use them. It is just there to make the OS experience better.

33. jromy

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 26, 2013

I don't think you quite understand the meaning of "forcing" someone to do something. Each ecosystem has different apps, the only solution to what you're saying is if every phone came with all possible email and social apps pre-loaded. And god knows what we need is more bloatware that we're never going to use.

37. chocowii

Posts: 478; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Only Android has bloats if, except Nexus and GP Editions. WP and iOS has none on their phones. If it has on WP, its deletable. The thing here is if you use more Google, better use an Android device. If your work evolves anything but on Office, go to WP. Everything elses, go to iOS?

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