25 Feb 2014

Nokia X Is An 'Affordable Smartphone' Running on Forked Android

The most exciting, and bizarre, of Nokia’s announcements at the Mobile World Congress belonged to the much-rumored Nokia X handset — and a surprise addition of another two peers, the X+ and XL — all of which run an operating system based on Android.

The devices are targeted at the “affordable smartphone” segment of the market and run the Nokia X OS platform — a forked version of Android that includes the Fastlane UI found on Asha devices.

The Nokia X’s hardware itself is aligned with its ‘affordable’ smartphone tag, offering a 1GHz dual-core processor, 4-inch 800 x 480 pixels IPS display and a 3-megapixel fixed focus camera on the rear. There’s also 4GB of on board storage and 512MB RAM.

However, clearly the most notable thing about the device is the Nokia X software platform, which will run many standard Android apps.

In fact, Nokia told TNW that only three APIs have been changed, so if a developer isn’t making use of these, no changes are needed at all.

However, as the Nokia X is not an ‘Android’ device in the truest sense — it doesn’t have Google Play certification — apps need to be loaded onto the device from Nokia’s own app store, which will have a special section for apps that run on devices in the Nokia X family.

In addition to providing largely unfettered access to Android apps, there are also a few exclusive apps like Mix Radio and Here Maps pre-installed on the device.

Other than loading apps via Nokia’s app store, users will also be able to download them from third-party app stores like Yandex or side-load an APK directly onto the device from a computer.

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