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Too Little, Too Late? The Nokia X Story

Nokia's First Android Smartphone: The Nokia X
Nokia's First Android Smartphone: The Nokia X

A low-end phone to take back the throne. A late and bold attempt to get on the gravy train also known as Android

Yeah, a Nokia Android device: The ultimate smartphone unicorn that every techie on the Internet has been screaming for since the rise of Android four years ago. And the rumor mill has been unusually active for the last few months.

There are leaked pictures, screenshots, and specs. Contrary to what everyone was hoping for, it isn’t an Android smartphone with the Lumia 1020’s 41MP camera. The unicorn is… rather small.

The Nokia X, also known as Normandy, is touted to be a low-end device with a price that will make you want to buy one on a whim. Nokia’s Facebook page and invitations are all showing X’s of some sort, so it’s now certain that by next week at the Mobile World Congress the Nokia X will be unveiled at last.

It Might Just Work

The launch of the Nokia X next week could’ve been a step in the right direction for the troubled Finnish company had it not squandered everything on Windows Phone three years ago.

Yeah, what a journey it has been for Nokia: Three years ago, it was the king of smartphones and now, it is barely making a dent in the smartphone world with its awesome yet ultimately failing Lumia phones.

Dirt-cheap, low-end phones are a dime a dozen (pun intended) in smartphone land. Numerous low-cost smartphones operate on the barest minimum specs and will probably lag here and there but will generally get the job done. Chinese rip-offs and faceless Samsung devices are available online and in brick-and-mortar stores and are fast gaining ground because of their affordability.

There is an example, though, of a smartphone that took affordability and specs to a whole new level: the Lumia 520.

The Lumia 520 succeeded beyond their manufacturers’ wildest dreams. It brought Windows Phone to the masses with its unbeatable price ($79 off-contract) and the lightning fast and smooth interface. It also showed that users need not sell their old smartphones just to afford a new one.

These devices showed that a reasonably priced product with decent specs and a recognizable brand is sure to become a hit among consumers. Within a year after release, the Lumia 520 became the most dominant Windows Phone and reminded people that iOS and Android were not the only operating systems available.

Building along those lines, Nokia is aiming to produce a smartphone that will capitalize on the “Nokia” brand with decent specs to boot. So far, the rumoured specs of the Normandy include a 4-inch screen, a dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of expandable storage. This is exactly the kind of Android smartphone that KitKat, the latest OS version, is built for: low-range specs that can still deliver a stellar performance.

Or Not…

This is the hard part, though. Being fans of Nokia ourselves, we want the company to succeed. The present Lumia phones are wonderful, the perfect fusion of Nokia hardware and Microsoft software. However, we have to admit that Windows Phone just doesn’t have the same pull that iOS and Android have; it will be in third place for a very long time.

The introduction of a Nokia Android phone, the Nokia X, will change the dynamics of the game, but only if Nokia plays it right this time. One low-range, low-cost smartphone isn’t going to dismantle the entrenched Android empire of Samsung, LG, and the other manufacturers. The Nokia X might be a good step but it needs to be followed up with another step, one that is bigger and more ambitious…an Android Lumia.

The smartphone race has been turned into a numbers game and only lately has Nokia paid any attention to raw specs like Samsung’s octa-cores and Apple’s 64-bit processor. Consumers love numbers because they serve as good comparison tools.

You can claim that you have the best smartphone by virtue of specs, and who will dispute you if you own an octa-core powered smartphone? Until the Lumia 1520 and the Lumia Icon, Windows Phones didn’t even support quad-cores. Yes the phones are stable, but a dual-core processor is nothing to brag about, at least in tech terms.

The Nokia X will be too little, too late if it is the first and last of its kind. The world needs more Nokia phones. More Nokia Androids, that is.

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