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Nokia also unveils pair of low-end Asha phones for ~$40 and ~$60 running Symbians builds

As anticipated, Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) inheritance got a little bit more complex early this morning, with Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) unveiling a series of budget devices based on a forked version of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system.  The devices -- the Nokia X, XR, and X+ -- imitate the look of the Windows Phone, while using a mix of Nokia, Microsoft, and third-party software.
I. Mean the Window Ph... Er "Androids"
The budget devices are priced at €89, €99, and €109 respectively (roughly $120, $135, and $150 USD before taxes and subsidies).  The X is the base model, while the XR adds more memory and the X+ adds a bigger screen.
Developed under the codename "Normandy", these modified Android smartphones answer a key dilemma of how to insert Windows Phone into low-end devices.  Much of Nokia's sales in developing markets such as China, Indonesia, India, and Brazil are still feature phones.
Nokia X screens

Previously, devices at this price point were branded under the Asha lineup and exclusively used S40 (Series40), a derivative of the Symbian operating system.  Asha isn't going anywhere; Nokia is looking to supplement it with and Android "cross-over point", Nokia X.  Nokia X will serve as a set of training wheels accustoming buyers on the cusp of mid-tier Windows Phone offerings to get accustomed to the look of and some of the services of the platform via an Android clone.

(The music is Mobscene's remix of 501's "And it Begins", for those curious.)

Former Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop -- who is currently Nokia's Executive Vice President, Devices & Services while it awaits completing a $7.2B USD acquisition by Microsoft -- comments:

Lumia continues to be our primary smartphone strategy.  Lumia is where we will continue to introduce the greatest innovation.

[However] we see the X family being complementary to (Windows Phone) Lumia at lower price points.  Even as you see Lumia push lower and lower, you will see us push lower with Nokia X below that.

There's quite a lot of vendors ... who made the Android decision but couldn't differentiate.  We wanted to build with Microsoft a third ecosystem, and that's what we are doing while others fall by the wayside.

The new smartphones come in six of Nokia's iconic colorful body designs.

Nokia X back

Nokia Product Marketing Vice President Jussi Nevanlinna said the new approach will allow Nokia to bring popular apps to its budget lineup with greater ease, commenting to Reuters:

Our fans oftentimes tell us 'We love your hardware, we love your products, but we also love our Android apps'.  Can you make something happen so the Android apps magically run here?

Roughly 75 percent of Android apps will run without trouble and can simply be resubmitted as is to the new Nokia-branded Android app store.  As for the 25 percent that don't, most are currently tied to Google's proprietary APIs -- such as location-services, multi-player gaming services, or internet browsing.  Nokia is also working to provide API support to allow easy porting of these apps.

Nokia X in hand

Given the pending acquisition, Microsoft presumably is onboard with the plan, which would mean that when it acquires the Nokia Devices unit it would find itself in the odd position of selling Android smartphones.
II. Series 30, 40 Symbian OS Still Alive on the Ultra-Budget End
Microsoft's lineup will also continue to consist of Nokia Symbian devices on the low end.  Alongside the new Android-based Nokia smartphones, the company also announced a pair of Symbian handsets.  The lower end Nokia 220 runs S30 and priced at €29 (~$40 USD) before taxes and subsidies. 

Nokia Asha 220

The slightly fancier Nokia 230 runs S40 and will be priced €45 (~$60 USD).

Nokia Asha 230

Both the Nokia 220 and 230 use compressed browser technology similar to the technology pioneered by Norway's Opera Software ASA (STO:OPERAO).  There's a bit of Microsoft touch via the integrated Bing search.  Twitter Inc. (TWTR) and Facebook Inc. (FB) apps are preloaded onto each budget device.
As for Nokia, it gains a source of revenue via the HERE location service (which Microsoft pays Nokia for) and app store (which is free, but which revenue shares between app developers and Nokia).  Nokia has promised not to build a new phone unit to compete with Microsoft.  However, revenue from services on the Nokia X and similar devices -- along from the $5-10 USD in patent licensing fees it pockets for nearly every Android device sold -- could give Nokia a cash pile to reenter the market as a competitor to Microsoft in 2016.
If Nokia launches a pure Android lineup in 2016, it could be a dangerous foe to current Android device makers.  As Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KRX:005935) (KRX:005930) and other smartphone makers are encumbered by an estimated $15-30 USD in patent licensing fees per device, Nokia's devices could quickly match such experienced rivals in profit margins.  Nokia owns long-term licensing pacts with Samsung and Apple, Inc. (AAPL) (who make regular payments to Nokia for the patents) -- plus a long-term licensing deal with Microsoft which is thought to be royalty free.

Sources: Nokia [1], [2], [3], Reuters

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RE: Brilliant
By Reclaimer77 on 2/24/2014 5:35:53 PM , Rating: 2
Instead, it's looking a lot more like the iOS that you hated so much

Can you even quantify that?

Also I believe you're using "open source" incorrectly. Android is completely 100% open source. Even Microsoft is allowed to fork it.

If you're going to get on a high horse and look down on people, maybe you should know wtf you're saying. Just an idea.

The whole idea is as stupid as Mountain View corralling much of what makes AOSP a viable mobile OS behind what is effectively a Google paywall.

Pretty obvious you've never used Google Now, at all, not once. And have no idea what you're talking about.

RE: Brilliant
By ritualm on 2/24/2014 6:48:12 PM , Rating: 2
Also I believe you're using "open source" incorrectly. Android is completely 100% open source. Even Microsoft is allowed to fork it.

You make it too painfully obvious that you didn't read the "Training Wheels" article couple days ago, let alone the ArsTechnica from last October.

If you fork AOSP, you don't get access to certain APIs Google deems essential to its own ecosystem. Herein lies the major problem in your argument.
Android is completely 100% open source.

It is not. The Ars article showed exactly how the "open source" part of AOSP is dying. The custom CM 10.1 build on my SGS4 still has some of the legacy AOSP-era apps - and Google isn't updating them anymore. How's that for "open source", huh?
If you're going to get on a high horse and look down on people, maybe you should know wtf you're saying. Just an idea.

Apparently, I did and you didn't.

Your argument just crumbled.

RE: Brilliant
By Reclaimer77 on 2/24/2014 6:56:18 PM , Rating: 2
If you fork AOSP, you don't get access to certain APIs Google deems essential to its own ecosystem. Herein lies the major problem in your argument.

Again, that's not an issue of closed versus open source.

Open source means the source code is available. Which it is. API's have nothing to do with source code.

Words having meanings. Use the right ones for the right meaning.

If you fork AOSP, you don't get access to certain APIs Google deems essential to its own ecosystem. Herein lies the major problem in your argument.

Again, if Android wasn't open source you wouldn't BE ABLE to fork it at all!

Here let me help you:
Android = open source
Windows = closed source
iOS = closed source
Windows Phone = closed source
Linux = open source
iOS = closed source


A few years ago haters like you were accusing Google of not doing ENOUGH to "control" Android and assure quality. Now that they have, you same idiots are accusing them of locking it down and being no better than Apple.

Keep on h8tin'!

RE: Brilliant
By ritualm on 2/24/2014 7:30:06 PM , Rating: 2
Again, that's not an issue of closed versus open source.

Since you clearly didn't bother reading the Ars article I linked for your benefit, here, let me quote some for you:
For some of these apps, there might still be an AOSP equivalent, but as soon as the proprietary version was launched, all work on the AOSP version was stopped. Less open source code means more work for Google's competitors. While you can't kill an open source app, you can turn it into abandonware by moving all continuing development to a closed source model. Just about any time Google rebrands an app or releases a new piece of Android onto the Play Store, it's a sign that the source has been closed and the AOSP version is dead...

While it might not be an official requirement, being granted a Google apps license will go a whole lot easier if you join the Open Handset Alliance. The OHA is a group of companies committed to Android—Google's Android—and members are contractually prohibited from building non-Google approved devices. That's right, joining the OHA requires a company to sign its life away and promise to not build a device that runs a competing Android fork...

Since the Kindle OS counts as an incompatible version of Android, no major OEM is allowed to produce the Kindle Fire for Amazon. So when Amazon goes shopping for a manufacturer for its next tablet, it has to immediately cross Acer, Asus, Dell, Foxconn, Fujitsu, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, NEC, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and ZTE off the list. Currently, Amazon contracts Kindle manufacturing out to Quanta Computer, a company primarily known for making laptops...

...Play Services is a closed source app owned by Google and licensed as part of the Google Apps package. Any feature you see move from "normal" Android to Google Play Services is also moving from open source to closed source. This app pulls off the neat trick of not only enticing users with exclusive, closed source features, but locking in third-party developers with Google's proprietary APIs as well...

At Google I/O 2013, Google revamped the Android location APIs and released them as part of Google Play Services. In other words, Android's top-tier location services are now closed source. If the above history is any indication, the open source location stack will be left to rot...

Most developers probably say "yes" to Google APIs, and the next question is what should they do about the Kindle and other Android forks? Developers are largely on their own to find a replacement API solution, which might be out of date and might not work perfectly with their existing app. If this other solution isn't a perfect drop-in replacement, the developer will have to figure out how to design their app around the missing feature. Since this is such a small amount of users compared to their current iOS + Android user base, is it even worth it to try to figure out this separate ecosystem? Will they get a return on their time investment? It would be easy to say "the hell with forked Android" and skip all the extra work and Q/A that would entail...

AOSP is open source in name only. Google's hellbent on making most of it closed source. You can fork it - but you have a ton of work ahead of you to make your fork remotely functional for the users. That is not the same as the "open source" which you consistently championed as a feature.

Game over. Your argument just crumbled.

RE: Brilliant
By Reclaimer77 on 2/24/2014 7:35:16 PM , Rating: 2
Can someone please explain to this moron kid what "open source" means?? Jesus Christ!

Android is open source. SHUT THE FUCK UP.

RE: Brilliant
By ritualm on 2/24/2014 7:59:44 PM , Rating: 2
Reclaimer77 refuses to believe that water is wet, news at 11.

RE: Brilliant
By Reclaimer77 on 2/24/2014 8:19:09 PM , Rating: 2
Ritualm doesn't know what source code is, in a discussion about open source software.

RE: Brilliant
By ritualm on 2/24/2014 8:33:31 PM , Rating: 3
Your mad-on over anyone and everyone who disagrees with your crazy, deluded, twisted viewpoints is as sickening and hypocritical as your fervent misplaced hatred over everything Tesla.

You are pathetic and weak-willed. You are mentally unable to take a level-headed rebuttal without treating it as a personal attack.

Android is NOT 100% open source. Full. Stop.

You never go full retard, sir. Oh wait, you already did. Cry some more.

RE: Brilliant
By Reclaimer77 on 2/24/2014 10:07:19 PM , Rating: 2
Android is NOT 100% open source. Full. Stop.

Yes it is. There is a clear separation between apps and the OS.

Google doesn't want people screwing around with their apps. You can screw all you want with the OS.

THAT makes it open source.

RE: Brilliant
By Camikazi on 2/25/2014 11:09:49 AM , Rating: 2
Android is 100% open source the problem here is you think Google apps and services are part of Android when they never were. Android is the base OS and some base apps and that is all, those things are open source and usable in any way you want but the Google Services require working with Google and around their rules since they created it. That doesn't make Android less open sourced at all. You seem to think like the people who were upset at Google when they stopped Acer from releasing that phone with Aliyun even though Acer was violating the rules of the OHA agreement. Not being able to separate the difference between Android and Google doesn't make Android any less open source.

RE: Brilliant
By ritualm on 2/25/2014 1:05:10 PM , Rating: 2
Android is 100% open source the problem here is you think Google apps and services are part of Android when they never were.

Except this isn't the case when Android first started having any market presence. AOSP back then meant everything but the fuel needed to run the car. These days AOSP means getting only 4 wheels and a baseplate.

Is Google updating the bits that make the car run without vendor-specific parts? No. That makes Google's claims of supporting "open source" look like a bunch of baloney and hot air.

RE: Brilliant
By Reclaimer77 on 2/25/2014 2:32:37 PM , Rating: 1
You're a fusking retard, nobody can reason with you.

RE: Brilliant
By ritualm on 2/26/2014 8:59:47 AM , Rating: 2
Alright then, since you think I'm so wrong, how about I pull the rug from under your feet.

If an article talks about something related to Tesla, it's a virtual given that you're going to post something that attacks the integrity of Elon Musk, regardless of its merits. That's why many of your posts on that topic get downranked to oblivion.

If an article talks about something related to Google/Android, you're throwing your full weight in support of it - even when it's wrong.

You are mentally unable to take a level-headed rebuttal without treating it as a personal attack. Moreover - and this part is important - not only do you not digest the sources people give for their arguments, you also immediately shoot them down with virulent, abusive, inflammatory insults. Intelligent, reasoned, respectful : these are qualities conspiciously absent from your posts. You are literally the Mountain View version of Testerguy on these DT comment boards. You are worse than Tony Swash in regards to bias, and that's saying something.

I posted how the SGS5 is milking the cash cow instead of pushing the envelope. You immediately took it as a disparaging post from an Apple/iOS supporter who has never used a single Samsung phone, and proceeded to shut me down by claiming my "opinion doesn't count"... only to watch you reverse course and play nice after finding out that I'm actually using a SGS4. By then it's already too late, thanks to your setting the obnoxious, condescending tone with that insult.

You claim that I cannot be reasoned with, when you are doing just that with the argumentative, illogical and poisonous tone that leaks out of your posts like the coal ash spill from a TVA-operated coal power plant. Yet you demand a polite conversation from the rest of us, while coping with your bigoted behavior? Talk about hypocrisy - you are full of it.

Just because this is a conversation thread on the Internet doesn't mean you can act like an uneducated 9 year old idiot brandishing AR-15's on both hands. We don't play like that, sir, and we certainly do not appreciate your attitude around here.

RE: Brilliant
By atechfan on 2/24/2014 8:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
Android is really only semi-open. Almost everything useful in Android is locked away in the Google APIs. Yes, the Android kernel is technically open source, but is pretty useless to anyone not able to code their own APIs. The amount of work necessary to make a forked Android usable means only large companies like Amazon are doing so. For almost everyone else, it isn't feasible.

RE: Brilliant
By Reclaimer77 on 2/24/2014 9:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
Just because they aren't as open as ritualm would like, doesn't make it closed source.

But he seems unable to grasp this. Frankly I don't think he knows what source code is, or what the difference between closed and open source is.

Google branded apps are ENTIRELY separate from "Android". This is SO frustrating trying to talk to this idiot about this though. Can't tell the difference between an OS and apps!?

RE: Brilliant
By CyCl0n3 on 2/26/2014 6:30:34 AM , Rating: 2
Yes of course the OS is open source. A very outdated open source OS (without google´s closed basic apps)

RE: Brilliant
By CyCl0n3 on 2/26/2014 6:40:02 AM , Rating: 2
* and API´s (mostly)

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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