Live in Barcelona as Nokia Unveils Nokia X, Its First Android Phone


Ina Fried


In what is shaping up to be Nokia’s last big phone launch before joining Microsoft, the Finnish phone maker plans to talk about a range of products — none of which are Windows Phones.

Indeed, no new Windows Phones are expected in Barcelona.

Rather, Nokia is using the show to talk about the rest of its mobile phone business, a unit that includes everything from basic phones to the near-smartphone Asha line. Sources have also said that Nokia has been working on a new phone based on Android, albeit with Microsoft and Nokia services replacing the standard fare from Google.

Re/code will have live coverage from Nokia’s event, which will start momentarily.

More Articles About Mobile World Congress 2014

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:38 pm

CEO Steven Elop is on stage, talking about Windows Phone progress. Mentions Adobe Photoshop Express and BBM coming soon to Windows Phone.

Also talks about feature phone and basic phone business, which is the focus today.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:39 pm

First new product shown–Nokia 220, a basic phone for 29 Euros that can use data services. Facebook and Twitter are preloaded.

“At this price millions of people can connect to the Internet for the very first time,” Elop said.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:40 pm

Important for Microsoft, Bing search is integrated into the Nokia Xpress browser that is built into the Nokia 220. Comes in single and dual-SIM flavors, 2-megapixel camera. Available immediately in single-SIM version.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:40 pm

Moving on to Asha, Nokia’s tweener phone that bridges between feature phone and smartphone.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:42 pm

Nokia intros a more affordable touch phone in the Asha line, the Nokia Asha 230. It comes in Nokia’s bright colors and will sell for 45 Euros. 

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:44 pm

The new Asha phone (as well as a software update for other Ashas) brings Mix Radio and Microsoft’s OneDrive to Asha line.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:45 pm

Elop teeing up the need for something more than Asha and Lumia, talking about the growth of low-end smartphones.
“We are going after it with multiple options at different price points,” Elop says.

Cue video of the Nokia X, the company’s first Android phone.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:46 pm

Elop shows the new Nokia X ad Nokia X+, the company’s first Android phones. They include services from Microsoft and Nokia, as opposed to those from Google.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:48 pm

Nokia X and X+ have 4-inch touchscreen, with X+ including extra storage. Preloaded apps include Skype, Facebook, Angry Birds. Access to hundreds of thousands of applications because built on Android Open Source Platform.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:48 pm

The Nokia X takes people to Microsoft’s cloud, not Google’s cloud.,” Elop said.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:50 pm

It’s demo time.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:51 pm

A glance screen provides time and notifications without the fully powering on the device. Home screen has a Windows Phone-like look with tiles, rather than the Asha’s squircle icons.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:52 pm

Tiles can be resized and, in some cases, offer experience similar to the live tiles that Microsoft uses in Windows and Windows Phone. Android widgets can also be installed though.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:53 pm

One of the key areas where Nokia went its own way is something it calls “Fast Lane” which is a mix of notifications, upcoming events and frequently used applications.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:55 pm

Now they are talking about the Nokia Store. That’s a place where Nokia is curating apps that are certified to work on the Nokia X. One of the challenges of going non-Google is that not all apps will work as intended. In particular, apps likely to encounter issues are those that rely on Google Maps or Google’s in-app payments.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:56 pm

Nokia isn’t saying how many apps will be in its store, but points to the hundreds of thousands of apps in third party stores. That’s true, but downloading and going to third-party stores is a hassle and opens users up to both security issues and potential incompatibilities.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:57 pm

Nokia is also introducing a third Android phone, the Nokia XL “a big bold smartphone,” Elop says. The Nokia XL has a five inch screen and 5-megapixel back camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

Ina Fried February 23, 201411:59 pm

While the Nokia X was widely leaked and reported, the XL came as something of a surprise to many in the crowd.

Ina Fried February 24, 201412:02 am

Elop brings on Microsoft’s Skype team. Buyers of Nokia X will get one month free of Skype Out–the service that lets people call landlines and mobiles using Skype. Nokia X buyers will also get 10GB of OneDrive storage.

Ina Fried February 24, 201412:03 am

Nokia X immediately available for 89 Euros. The X+ will come in early Q2 for 99 Euros. The Nokia XL will sell for 109 Euros and come in second quarter.

Ina Fried February 24, 201412:05 am

Elop now trying to do the careful dance of positioning Nokia X line, noting that Lumia remains the company’s primary smartphone strategy.

Going forward, Elop said to expect the X family to stay below the Lumia line in price, with Lumia coming down in price and the X family evolving to stay below the Lumia in cost.

The Nokia X, he reminds the crowd and his soon-to-be Microsoft bosses, offers an entree into Microsoft’s services for the next billion smartphone owners.

Ina Fried February 24, 201412:05 am

The key question is whether the Nokia X line, with its mix of Nokia and Microsoft services, appeals to the customer buying low-end Android devices.

Ina Fried February 24, 201412:06 am

Cumbaya time. 

Nokia has connected billions. Microsoft has put a PC on every desk.

Ina Fried February 24, 201412:06 am

Q and A time.

Ina Fried February 24, 201412:10 am

No mention of Office. Can Excel run on the XL, for example.
Elop says that Nokia X started with a set of Microsoft services.

You should expect to see (that) expanded… We have further that we will go,” Elop said.

Ina Fried February 24, 201412:11 am

Can apps be side loaded, and, if so, can Google’s apps be side loaded.

Elop reiterates that the vast majority run out of the box, but if they tie to Google services, they may need to be tweaked to run on Nokia X.

Ina Fried February 24, 201412:12 am

Finnish paper reporter notes that platform was burring three years ago and Nokia went with Windows Phone. He asks if introduction of Nokia X line shows that Nokia’s platform is burning once again.

Of course, Elop won’t say that. But actions speak louder than words.

Ina Fried February 24, 201412:14 am

Lots of questions from the geeky crowd on how to side load apps. It shows the challenge Nokia will face by going non-Google.
Asked when Nokia would introduce a new Lumia phone with PureView camera technology, Elop said “I’m not making any Lumia announcements today… Watch this space.”

Ina Fried February 24, 201412:14 am

That’s it from the press conference. We have an analysis story with more details going up momentarily 

Ina Fried February 24, 201412:35 am

Our analysis story is here, and we will have more on this later today.