Print 47 comment(s) - last by retrospooty.. on Jul 9 at 12:09 AM

Windows Phone's "training wheels" may get a rebranding

Many have second guessed Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) decision to continue to support the Windows Phone-esque reskin of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android, Nokia X.  Indeed Microsoft's logic seems somewhat peculiar given that you can get a pure Windows Phone device (e.g. the Lumia 520/521) for under $100 USD -- cheaper than most Nokia X handsets.
However, the Nokia X's pre-orders of 10 million in March (including 4 million in China) hints that in these markets the ability to load pirated apps via third-party app distributors and sideloading (a key "feature" of Android) can be worth at least $50 USD in effective device value.  If the flawed first generation Nokia X can sell like that, Microsoft is ready for a device boom with the more refined second generation Nokia X platform.
Amidst that backdrop top smartphone leaker @evleaks has posted some highly interesting news:
This is perhaps the culmination of rumors that Microsoft was considering adding the ability to use Android apps on Windows Phone (similar to BlackBerry Ltd.'s (TSE:BB) compatibility layer).

Nokia X2

Google is cracking down on reskinning.  With Android 4.4 KitKat, it moved many of its key APIs (which are required by many apps) into the proprietary part of Android, which is not available to (unlicensed) reskinners.  Since then it has flat-out banned reskinning of some variants of the "open source" Android code.  However, Google can't really stop rivals from achieving app compatibility with Android; after all, BlackBerry is already doing this.
Microsoft will likely be forced to continue to maintain an older version of Android if it wants to continue its strategy.  But what some don't seem to understand is that what Microsoft is doing is actually more than a little bit brilliant.
Neowin writes:

[F]or Microsoft to start offering Android-powered Lumias seems like a strange decision, if only for the purpose of undercutting its own OS.

But that comment is written from the mindset of an American consumer.  Nokia X -- perhaps soon to be rebranded as Lumia handsets -- indeed makes no sense from the perspective of the U.S. and European markets.  But the first-generation Nokia X didn't even ship to these markets.
Where Nokia X -- or Lumia Android -- makes perfect sense is in markets like China and India where any device that does not openly embrace piracy is condemned to a small niche market share (e.g. Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) "small" market share in China).
Nokia X
The latest iPhone saw only 1 million preorders in China; the Nokia X saw more than 4 million preorders in the region. [Image Source: Android265G]

Microsoft is a mass seller -- so it needs a device that can compete with pure Android competitors in these markets; it can't operate as a high-end boutique brand in these markets like Apple.  At the same time it would be unacceptable to weaken Windows Phone's piracy protections, as that would undermine Microsoft's growing success in Europe and the U.S. (where the ability to pirate is less of a "selling point").
With Nokia X Microsoft can have its cake (unit sales) and eat it to (by guiding the small minority of high end customers in these regions to true Windows Phone Lumias).
So for those who feel Nokia X doesn't make sense, remember -- it isn't meant to make sense to you.  Microsoft isn't selling these devices to you.  Nokia X -- and its potential Lumia successor -- is Microsoft's answer for gaining market share and introducing Windows Phone in developing markets where rampant piracy has left the laissez-faire Android without a true competitor.  In that context Microsoft's Android play might actually make sense.

Sources: @evleaks on Twitter, via Neowin

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RE: Bias is showing
By JasonMick on 7/7/2014 2:08:06 PM , Rating: 1
Sigh, Jason did you do any research or just make up facts that fit your own bias?

Only reason Apple is not "big in China" is because it does not support piracy? Lets make a quick search on the site you write for

Oh look at that..

Actually everytime you use a quotation mark should set off an "BS alert" if you google or by the tone you use with regards to Android, bing those quotation marks you might find facts rather than made up hyperbole makes for a better article.
First off what do you think my bias is?

I've owned both Windows Phone and Android... Currently own an HTC one m8. I'm about as close to an unbiased party as you get in the smartphone news space.

Second off nice going w the Apple piece as you're proving my point.

Apple IS a niche player in the Chinese market. Period. End of story. Yes some resellers may unlock it to allow sideloading but there's no evidence these devices sell at sufficient volume to be true competitors to Android. Secondly Apple does not want these devices even as they grossly reduce its profits which are heavily drove on paid apps...

I'm not even sure what point you were trying to make, at this point....

RE: Bias is showing
By anothermax2 on 7/7/14, Rating: 0
RE: Bias is showing
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/7/2014 3:59:42 PM , Rating: 2
7 percent is dominate? In what world?

RE: Bias is showing
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/7/2014 4:21:15 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Bias is showing
By JasonMick on 7/7/2014 5:31:23 PM , Rating: 2
Apple is the dominant smart phone provider in China. About 100M users. That's a heck of a 'niche'. Some 80% of phones over $500 are Apple. There recent deal with China Mobile is huge, and driving huge sales of 5c/5s for them.

I am there frequently (hong kong, shenzen, shanghai mostly) what I see are fliphones, crappy small screen HTC thingies and tons, and tons, and tons of iPhones (and ipads)...
No, you're flat out wrong and crazy.

That's one metric... I would further debug your fallacious claims, but I'll simply rest my case with that adding that being in fifth place is actually an IMPROVEMENT for Apple (who last I saw in 2013 was in sixth place. That's smartphones not "flip phones"... so don't try to weasel your way out of this one.

You're flat out wrong to claim Apple is "dominant" in Chinese unit sales.

Apple is a niche player in China, albeit one that has seen modest success.

RE: Bias is showing
By Keeir on 7/7/2014 9:27:07 PM , Rating: 2
Talk about missing the forest for the trees.

Apple is not popular in China in terms of marketshare is because of COST. (Cost of device and cost of apps, etc)

The cheapest comparable option is a 16 GB 5c. Its listed currently on the Apple site as 4,488 RMB --> 718 dollars!

In the United States this phone is only 549 + tax. (Lets say 600). That's right, its cheaper to buy a 5S in the United States than a 5c in China.

In comparison the Nokia your specifically referring to in the article sells for 1188 RMB --> 190 dollars.

Now, I think that a cost difference of around 500 dollars matters significantly more than the ability to pirate. True the ability to pirate is worth a significant amount, but in pales in comparison to the base price.

I wonder among flagship phones (Cost in China of 3,500 RMB and above) what Apple's percentage is?

RE: Bias is showing
By ritualm on 7/8/2014 1:35:23 AM , Rating: 3
Apple is the dominant smart phone provider in China...

I am there frequently (hong kong, shenzen, shanghai mostly)

In other words, you confess that you suck at separating true iPhones/iPads from iClones and iRipoffs - copycats that masquerade and pretend they're the real deal.

RE: Bias is showing
By Reclaimer77 on 7/7/2014 4:34:33 PM , Rating: 3
So Jason speaking of Apple, I think you should do an article about this:

I did the update for my work iPhone, and now it's completely freaking broken.

So much for the benefits of a non-fragmented ecosystem. Instead of just some people having problems, EVERYONE is screwed...

RE: Bias is showing
By retrospooty on 7/7/2014 5:21:26 PM , Rating: 4
Shhhh... They cant keep denying it if you keep pointing out facts.

RE: Bias is showing
By JasonMick on 7/7/2014 5:32:03 PM , Rating: 2
Nice, thanks for the link, will do!

RE: Bias is showing
By Reclaimer77 on 7/7/2014 5:39:31 PM , Rating: 4
I'm also completely unable to send text messages, iMessages or otherwise.


And mind you this was the update that was supposed to "fix" last versions messaging bugs. Awesome job Apple!

Oh and can I revert to the previous, working, version of iOS? Nope!!! Not without jailbreaking the phone. Why? Someone please explain this to me.

This iPhone has been such a goddamn burden to me. It's official; If you actually spend your own money on one, you're an idiot. Fact.

RE: Bias is showing
By retrospooty on 7/7/2014 5:58:17 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, but the apps. /s

RE: Bias is showing
By KoolAidMan1 on 7/7/14, Rating: 0
RE: Bias is showing
By Reclaimer77 on 7/8/2014 10:20:19 AM , Rating: 2
Nice try. iMessaging is definately bugged post-patch, which makes it impossible to send ANY MMS messages. iMessage or otherwise.

Finally found a "fix". Disable iMessaging and signing out of the associated email address is the only way to get text messaging to work.

But hey, it's Apple. It "just works", right?

iMessaging is just a stupid idea altogether that's caused more trouble than it's worth. Honestly, who DOESN'T have an unlimited text messaging smartphone plan these days anyway? iMessage is pointless, like nearly everything else Apple tried to proprietize.

RE: Bias is showing
By retrospooty on 7/8/2014 11:10:35 AM , Rating: 4
Honestly, you can't jump on Apple for a bug. Bugs happen to any OS and Apple's aren't any different. What you can jump on is the ridiculous zealots like the aptly named "KoolAidMan" that act like IOS is head and shoulders above the fray when it's simply not. On top of being decidedly average and as buggy as any, it's just missing sooooo much. Still 7 years after release, the keyboard has no alt/longpress mappings or 5th row for #'s, or ability to add more than 5x4 icons on a home page - even on iPad. Still no multi user, still no standardized back button, still no NFC, still no ability to set default apps, still no [insert huge list of missing features].

You know, it's funny. For years You and I had both seen/used friends and co-workers IOS devices for very brief periods, and found it lacking, but this year we both got actual work units, you with an iPhone and me with an iPad 4 to actually use for an extended amount of time. What did it show? We were wrong. We both dramatically understated how bad the OS is. The hardware is quite nice, but the OS just drags the whole thing down to almost painful to use. It's just boring and missing way too much basic functionality.

Still, clowns like this come on week after week month after month, year after year and defend it to death and attack anyone that "thinks different" ironically. Whatever... To each his own. But hey, "Apps".

RE: Bias is showing
By ritualm on 7/8/2014 1:55:13 PM , Rating: 2
I might not like iMessage all that much, but I flatly will not use any text messaging i.e. SMS. That stuff costs next to nothing to the carrier and remains a point of contention for the rest of us (hello obscure 3rd-party charges on cellphone invoices). "unlimited text messaging" yeah right; I still get charged several dimes occasionally thanks to spam text messages from outside the country, most commonly originating from USA...

Inability to set default apps and no user-friendly filesystem are my biggest gripes over iOS. The rest is meh.

RE: Bias is showing
By Reclaimer77 on 7/8/2014 2:26:03 PM , Rating: 2
That's fine but my job relies on quick communication, and we text message a lot and send pics. And the company pays the bill, so what do I care?

I don't have a problem with iMessage as a concept. I do have a problem with Apple intentionally using it to harm Android users by not delivering their texts, and of course I have a problem with their text messaging system disrupting my non-iMessage texts.

This just further highlights what we've always known: Apple's software is garbage, always has been, always will be. The only decent software they own, is what they bought from other companies. And that soon turns to pure dogsh*t after a few years of Apple managing it.

RE: Bias is showing
By KoolAidMan1 on 7/8/2014 9:46:58 PM , Rating: 1
Since when have I ever said iOS doesn't have bugs? All I've said is that it performs better, has better security, and has better apps.

You're making things up to support your strawman. Stop being such a zealot.

RE: Bias is showing
By retrospooty on 7/9/2014 12:09:43 AM , Rating: 3
"Since when have I ever said iOS doesn't have bugs? All I've said is that it performs better, has better security, and has better apps"

Is it really that hard to follow a conversation? That isn't what I said. What I said is right there in the very post you just replied to. I said you "act like IOS is head and shoulders above the fray when it's simply not. On top of being decidedly average and as buggy as any, it's just missing sooooo much"

You come back here going on years now and defend it like you're on a mission. Don't deny it, don't act like its not true. Own your agenda.

RE: Bias is showing
By Samus on 7/8/2014 12:13:10 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's pretty obvious the reason Microsoft would run Android on its devices with a Windows Phone skin is simply for API, apps, the only think WP8 lacks compared to Android.

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