Nokia launches smartphones for emerging markets with Android app support

Handset maker Nokia has launched a family of smartphones that run Android apps and are targeted at emerging markets. The Nokia X, will go on sale immediately, is priced from €89 and will be available in Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

The Nokia X+ and Nokia XL, priced at €99 and €109 respectively, will be launched in the same markets next quarter. The handsets will also support Microsoft services such as Skype, OneDrive and

The Finnish firm, which is being acquired by Microsoft, also unveiled two handsets in the “first smartphone” category, for consumers experiencing the internet for the first time in markets where fixed line connectivity is not prevalent. The Nokia Asha 230 will be priced at €45 while the Nokia 220 will be priced from €29. They will be available in the same regions as the Nokia X family.

Tony Cripps, principal analyst at research firm Ovum, said that while it is premature to label the Nokia X a game changer, it “definitely shakes up an industry that has become fixated on incremental advances and smart accessories as growth drivers of hardware sales, largely at the expense of further ecosystem development”.

He predicts that Nokia’s strong presence in emerging markets will be a driver for sales in the regions it is targeting with the devices, and will force competitors to step up their efforts in those markets. The devices are likely to be welcomed by consumers and developers alike, he said adding that they are also likely to evoke a response from Google, particularly in developing markets.

“Microsoft’s pragmatism in adopting the  Android Open Source Project (AOSP) gives it a chance of finally taking the global consumer technology fight to Google, Apple, and Samsung,” said Cripps. “The result, in the long term, may be a company barely recognisable as the one we know today.”

Ian Fogg, head of mobile analysis at IHS Technology, said that Nokia supporting Android apps shows that an Android victory in the smartphone market does not necessarily equote to a Google victory.

“For Nokia, using Android dramatically improves on its previous Asha proposition for emerging markets. Now, Nokia can offer a vast selection of apps at a comparable price to Android smartphones.”

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