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Nokia Announces Nokia X Android Smartphone

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the check-it-out dept.

Android 105

squiggleslash writes "Despite some industry skepticism, Nokia has indeed been working on an Android smartphone and finally unveiled the Nokia X today. As rumored, it's not a Google Play compatible device, running instead a Google-less AOSP build with a Nokia app store, and Windows Phone style shell. The budget phone will also not be marketed in North America. The Media seems convinced Microsoft — who are in the process of acquiring Nokia — will kill the project, but it's hard to see why Nokia would be working on such a project at this time if Microsoft had plans to do this."

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105 comments

i have to ask (3, Funny)

beefoot (2250164) | about 5 months ago | (#46323353)

Since Nokia makes wonderful handset, could existing nokia handsets running windows be modded to run android?

Re:i have to ask (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 5 months ago | (#46323449)

One of the main problems is drivers. Maybe for this new ones a newer android, or firefox os, or ubuntu touch can be ported, as happen with most of the ones with android preinstalled. But if you can't handle hardware properly those ports could lack serious functionalities (i.e. Nitdroid for the N900 lacked microphone support for phone calls)

Re:i have to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46323725)

"(i.e. Nitdroid for the N900 lacked microphone support for phone calls)" So... it'd be like an iPhone? good for everything except being used as an actual phone? ZING!

Re:i have to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46324059)

"One of the main problems is drivers."

Why would that be a problem? Most Lumia's use the same MSM8960 SOC as e.g. the LG F7 Pantech Vega racer 2 or even the BB Z10/Q10-series. I doubt that "drivers" are any issue. The problem with Lumia's is their completely locked bootloader and locked ROM which prohibits anything else from being flashed/loaded :-(

As for this device. It's crippled from the start. 512Mb RAM???? It's merely a low-budget device so microsoft can completely get rid of Nokia's Symbian heritage (Asha's) which caused Windows Mobile's demise and is a torn in their eyes since then. I really hope it fails! >:-> And that Jolla on thrives on that failure with their linux-based Sailfish OS!

Re:i have to ask (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 5 months ago | (#46323599)

Anything can be done. Will you volunteer to do all the hard work to make that happen?

Re:i have to ask (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46323797)

Hey now, I heard that open source is just automagically more powerful than close sourced software. No one said anything about working for it.

Re:i have to ask (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 5 months ago | (#46323619)

Considering the fact that MS owns Nokia's mobile phone division, it seems pretty unlikely they would ever allow this. I suspect this one android phone is more of a token effort than anything (a "See, we make android phones too!" token effort)

Re:i have to ask (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46323847)

Considering the fact that MS owns Nokia's mobile phone division, it seems pretty unlikely they would ever allow this. I suspect this one android phone is more of a token effort than anything (a "See, we make android phones too!" token effort)

Until the day of the merger, MS doesn't actually own Nokia. This may sound like a technicality, but it makes all sorts of cooperation illegal; cancelling this program, which would have been possible before, now becomes extremely dangerous. This could easily be a way for Nokia to demonstrate independence up until the very last day as well as being a threat in case Microsoft fails to complete the merger (in which case Nokia would go instantly back into profit with an Android phone).

On the other hand, the other rumour going around is that Microsoft will kill Windows Phone very soon. That would also be very likely since they desperately need to concentrate back on the desktop. Again, Microsoft is unable to announce such a thing until it has full control of Nokia which means that anyone in Microsoft who knew about the cancellation would be unable to talk about it on the other hand everyone who talked about it could honestly believe that Windows phone is to continue (since they couldn't know unless they were directly on the merger team).

First of three is a pretty good token (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 5 months ago | (#46328901)

I get that reading the TFA is weird around here, but there's actually three Android different phones being launched; this is just the first one (the others should be out in the next few weeks). This is also, I believe, the lowest-end one, although none of them are high-end.

Re:i have to ask (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#46323975)

Since Nokia makes wonderful handset, could existing nokia handsets running windows be modded to run android?

If all the same hardware is used in phones already running Android, the answer is likely yes. Otherwise, the answer is "not practically".

Re:i have to ask (1)

CreamyG31337 (1084693) | about 5 months ago | (#46323985)

not on their windows phones with locked bootloaders

Re:i have to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46324619)

There is one problem, I don't replace my stuff until it's broke, yup I've been using my 3310 now for almost 15 years. We've been through a lot together, 2 divorces, 3 kids, prescription forgery, jail, years of doctor shopping, methadone clinic, and so much more.
I've dropped it outside, in my bath, left it in my pants to be washed and dried, beat a mugger half to death with it, ran it over, destroyed my Blendtec, and crushed more Vicodin than most people get in their entire lives.

Sorry I can't let it go :(

Re:i have to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46324947)

No: Trusted boot. The whole reason trusted boot exists, is to make hardware resistant to software upgrades. As a user, you should never, ever buy one of the machines. It exists as a trap, and is probably even sold below cost (like game consoles), the thinking being that since you can't ever upgrade the platform, they will make their money back from you through software application sales. (Because a single entity sells you the hardware and skims a pice of all software sales.)

Some consumers are probably ok with that model, but if you're ok with that, then you already have an iPhone.

Seriously, there are literally zero cases where it makes sense to buy this stuff. Whatever strategy you (as a consumer) use, you can do better, elsewhere.

Re:Embrace..Extend..Extinguish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46325153)

old trick

Re: i have to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46327167)

If you can't beat em, join em.

First few might be android to win market share. Then as people get used to the ui, switch the kernel.

I wouldn't have believed it - even uglier than WP (3, Funny)

daboochmeister (914039) | about 5 months ago | (#46323451)

If someone had suggested they could release an interface even more playskool, offputting and uglier than WP's tiles, I would have told them they were simply crazy. Alas, I was wrong.

Re:I wouldn't have believed it - even uglier than (4, Funny)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46324015)

A phone UI can't get more Fisher-Price than this one [drugstore.com] .

Built-in Spying (-1, Troll)

ad454 (325846) | about 5 months ago | (#46323473)

Considering the deliberate spying Nokia does on their Windows phone, it seems that their NSA masters asked them to find a way to help spy on android devices.

Next, the NSA will talk to HTC, Samsung, Motorola, etc, forcing them to do the same, now that the precedence with Nokia has been established and accomplished on the Android platform.

Post Snowden, there isn't enough tin foil for my hats these days, since the revelations have shown that the NSA and corporations have been spying much more then the worse case proposed by the nuttiest crackpots, who are turning out to be the most insightful.

Re:Built-in Spying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46323655)

No offense but that is really stupid.
I understand your dislike of NSA, but bringing it up as the talking point in totally irrelevant articles is taking it to an extreme.

Why now? (3, Interesting)

Kingkaid (2751527) | about 5 months ago | (#46323493)

It isn't a secret that Nokia was working on this phone for a while and their exclusive deal with Microsoft prevented them from releasing it until now. Part of the reason why MS likely acquired Nokia now was because the contract was set to expire and they could lose their largest handset manufacturer. From Nokia's POV, they've been making this for a while and why not show off the hard work? I am sure it is a bit of an ego thing on their part. And with the timing, in the event the regulatory stuff prevented the purchase from Microsoft, it is a good idea for Nokia to keep proceeding as usual and go ahead with the release. Remember that Nokia is only selling their handset side of the business to Microsoft, with a 5 year use of the name. After that time Nokia may consider getting back into the mobile space and what a nice way to come back by having a product that may wet a few appetites (it worked with their N9 and Meego, look at the diehards for those on /.).

Re:Why now? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 months ago | (#46323557)

And with the timing, in the event the regulatory stuff prevented the purchase from Microsoft, it is a good idea for Nokia to keep proceeding as usual and go ahead with the release.

Is that likely? Everyone's been talking like the MS-Nokia purchase was a done deal.

Re:Why now? (5, Interesting)

wile_e8 (958263) | about 5 months ago | (#46323595)

From what I've heard, the companies are legally required to act like separate companies until the merger clears all the regulatory hurdles. So killing this because of the pending merger would look bad from that aspect. IANAL though, so any legal types feel free to correct me.

Re:Why now? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 months ago | (#46327077)

Formally, yes. Everything that involves bookkeeping, jobs, contracts, IP and so on must be kept separate but they are allowed to cooperate on the same level as Nokia-Microsoft did before the buyout. In practice that means that Nokia wouldn't do much of any major business decision without consulting their exclusive partner, formally they don't have to listen but if any of Nokia's managers want to have a future at Microsoft they wouldn't rock the boat. Or if they did, their manager again would probably stop them. IANAL either but I have been through a buy-out, any new development, big purchasing decisions and such were all put on hold.

Re:Why now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46323647)

It also demonstrates what I've been thinking ever since Android first came about. Running an OS in a JRE is just adding a layer of work for no reason. Android requires over double the hardware power for any level of performance when compared to any other OS. If that project of compiled Android was able to finish (instead of, what was it, sued to oblivion?), the compiled Android would be a viable OS, and capable of competing.

As it stands, Android's dominance is a combination of people who don't want to pay so much for an iPhone and people who want to pay a lot and brag about their hardware specs.

Maybe Nokia will be sensible enough to compile their fork if/when they decide to go into serious X-series development and production.

Re:Why now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46323827)

Dalvic is a JIT system, so no, there's no significant slowness caused by apps being shipped in bytecode form.

(Most of the OS is native anyway with the exception of the core apps like the Launcher. It's only the apps that are stored as bytecode.)

Re:Why now? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46324025)

Dalvic is a JIT system, so no, there's no significant slowness caused by apps being shipped in bytecode form.

Other than perhaps having to keep both the bytecode and the native code in RAM.

Re:Why now? (3, Insightful)

Karlt1 (231423) | about 5 months ago | (#46324881)

Dalvic is a JIT system, so no, there's no significant slowness caused by apps being shipped in bytecode form.

Just because Java proponents have been saying that for 20 years doesn't make it true.

Re:Why now? (1)

gmueckl (950314) | about 5 months ago | (#46326199)

Actually, it is quite true. Slowness in Java can come from many things (inefficient algorithms, inefficient memory usage, overloading the GC with too many claimable objects on the heap, ...), but the code that JITs generate for Java can be very good and fast. At least Sun's/Oracle's JVM really can claim a good performance. I've benchmarked it repeatedly by porting Java code to C++ and running it on the same problem. And I've been surprised. If there's a big performance difference somewhere it's most likely because your own code is doing something wrong and there's often a way to fix it. Of all the things annoying or broken in Java, raw execution speed isn't.

Re:Why now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46326711)

Why would keeping both bytecode and native code in RAM cause significant slowness (I assume you're thinking in terms of swapping or some other thing that causes high memory usage to slow down a computer, although it's also worth pointing out that swapping is used rarely in Android, processes are generally allowed to use as much memory as is on the device, and non-front processes are killed if the front process needs more.)

Bytecode is small. Native code not much larger. Neither is significant compared to data in the case of most apps.

Re:Why now? (2)

frisket (149522) | about 5 months ago | (#46326401)

If they fuck it up (and fuck the users over) like they did with the N800, N9, and Meego, then forgeddit.

but it's hard to see why Nokia would be working on such a project at this time

Because they suffer from what my medical colleagues refer to as Glutaeo-Humeroid Distinction Disability (the medical term for not knowing your ass from your elbow). They had exactly what was needed three times (a pocket computer that was also a phone, or could at least run Skype) and threw it away three times. There is precisely zero evidence that they are even marginally competent nowadays to run a phone company,

WTF Nokia (5, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 5 months ago | (#46323521)

So wait, you guys had trouble making the Ovi Store attractive for devs, you haven't managed to make the Windows Store have anything worthwhile in it, and so your answer to WP failing is to make yet another app store you won't know what the fuck to do with? Brilliant.

If you wanted to have Android on the side, you don't make it rely on some rather complex software infrastructure like that. I really don't see Nokia as having the resources necessary to keep up with their full software stack. Even big players like HTC and Samsung aren't using an alternative app store and many alternative skins suck really bad. Just keep in mind that Amazon's Kindle Fire HD is still on a derivative of 4.0.3 and probably will stay that way.

What's so hard in understanding this simple three-step formula:
1) Make some nice hardware.
2) Put vanilla Android on it with a clear upgrade path to the latest version.
3) Profit!

Re:WTF Nokia (2)

the_humeister (922869) | about 5 months ago | (#46323877)

They probably because they don't want to pay Google [arstechnica.com] .

Re:WTF Nokia (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 5 months ago | (#46324055)

They probably because they don't want to pay Google.

Or just don't agree with Google.

Nokia owns Navteq, and has their own mapping service. Even if Nokia was willing to pay Google, they would be forced to ensure that Ovi Maps is not the default maps app.

And any other app that Nokia has - if you sign the agreement with Google, Google's apps must be #1, available within 1 tap of the home screen, and default.

Re:WTF Nokia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46324259)

They could have walked to the next building around the corner 2 streets away and rang at Jolla's door. I'm sure they wouldn't mind inviting Nokia for tea, biscuits and a bit of Sailfish OS. :)

Your comment would be relevant ... (1)

daboochmeister (914039) | about 5 months ago | (#46325525)

... if the linked-to article actually said that anyone paid Google. It doesn't - there's no licensing fee for the Google Mobile Services (GMS), it's all just testing, submitting devices, and coordinating with Google.

This is Google's way of maintaining a more cohesive ecosystem, ensuring that any Android device will have a shot at running any Android app (as well as ensuring enough momentum to fund their [huge] investment in the cloud services involved)..

The real answer is they wanted to support the Microsoft ecosystem, not Google's. Good luck with that - you ain't as big as Amazon, Nokia.

No Windows Pod touch (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46324061)

you haven't managed to make the Windows Store have anything worthwhile in it

Let's compare the Windows Phone developer program to the iOS developer program: Both charge each developer $99 per year plus 30 percent of sales. Both require a computer running the mobile operating system publisher's own desktop operating system. But unlike iOS, which ships on the iPod touch and iPad mini, Windows Phone OS ships on no Wi-Fi-only devices. Microsoft tried selling a Windows Pod touch, but the Zune flopped horribly. So in order to test your application on a device, you have to buy a phone, and that usually means yet another voice and data plan.

Re:No Windows Pod touch (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 5 months ago | (#46324185)

Then, after you develop your app, there aren't any users to buy it.

Re:No Windows Pod touch (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | about 5 months ago | (#46324371)

This is a great point. They've somehow made development more difficult than even Apple could manage.

Re:No Windows Pod touch (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46324593)

What? You can buy a Windows 521 for $90 off of Amazon, and that's a current generation phone, and there's no need to get a plan. There's many reasons for the lack on Windows apps, the incredible expense of an unlocked phone isn't one of them.

Re:No Windows Pod touch (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 5 months ago | (#46329001)

By "$99 per year" you mean "$19 per year" in the case of MS... but hey, what's a factor of 5 or so?

The SDK, incidentally, includes an "emulator" (actually a Hyper-V based virtual machine running an x86 version of the OS) for testing your apps. This SDK is free, and you can get it before signing up for the developer account.

Re:No Windows Pod touch (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46329163)

By "$99 per year" you mean "$19 per year" in the case of MS

It was $99 during the Windows Phone 7 days. I at least give Microsoft credit for having cut the price since then.

The SDK, incidentally, includes an "emulator" (actually a Hyper-V based virtual machine running an x86 version of the OS) for testing your apps.

The simulator in the iOS SDK reportedly works the same way. But as far as I can tell, testing multitouch gestures without a device needs a Surface Pro or other Windows 8 (x86-64) tablet, and code that runs fast on your Hyper-V VM might end up intolerably slow on the WP8 device.

Re:WTF Nokia (1)

jkrise (535370) | about 5 months ago | (#46324253)

I think Nokia has learnt from HP and Dell - threaten to release a Linux box; and you get hefty discounts on Windows OEM pricing. Even though a subsidiary of Microsoft; I guess Windows Phone 8 is a big fraction of the price of a Nokia handset - hence this crazy strategy?

Commodity (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 5 months ago | (#46324419)

If you do #1 and #2, you've created a commodity. You don't get to #3.

Re:WTF Nokia (2)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 5 months ago | (#46324569)

You forgot the "build a time machine back to 2002" step. There are hundred of Chinese factories pumping out cell phone hardware, it's all very efficient and basically zero-margin, Nokia isn't going to be able to be any better at it. And if they are any better at it, by the next week every other factory will be doing the same thing. Cell phone companies make profit by momentum, by advertising, and by stupid gimmicky shit that mostly just differentiates their products.

Re:WTF Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46324803)

I think senior management never meant this to see the light of day, just was something Elop did as a lever to get the buyout and golden parachute from Nokia he wanted. But then when he was overlooked for Ballmer's job, he decided to let the engineers bring it to market as a final FU. He probably has another golden parachute waiting in his new contract if let go from Microsoft, so there is no downside for him.

Re:WTF Nokia (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 months ago | (#46324805)

What you have to understand is that most people don't care about vanilla Android and OS upgrades. They buy phones based on looks, features and what their friends have. Ultimately any modern smartphone will play Angry Birds, so manufacturers are trying hard to differentiate themselves.

If Nokia made a vanilla Android phone it would have to compete with the Nexus 5, a phone with excellent hardware, support and a really low price. To be honest Nokia is probably fucked no matter what they do at this point, but their plan to become a successful platform in their own right at least has a small chance of returning them to greatness. Everyone wants to be Apple, not realizing that Google has already won precisely because they are not trying to be Apple.

Re:WTF Nokia (1)

FalcDot (1224920) | about 5 months ago | (#46324853)

Every big player in the industry seems convinced #2 and #3 are incompatible...

Re: WTF Nokia (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 5 months ago | (#46325197)

Like the post above said, if you go vanilla, then you are competing head on with the Nexus phones, on hardware and price alone. Now, would you pay $450 for a Nokia phone with vanilla Android and supposedly high Nokia build quality or $350 for a Nexus with the same specs?

Re: WTF Nokia (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | about 5 months ago | (#46328715)

If it were unlocked, possibly. Besides price, my main reason for going Nexus is that I know that once Google stops producing updates for the phone, I can turn to Cyanogenmod to extend my phone's life. And if I want additional functionality, I can root and/or go CM earlier. My Nexus One was well on its way to uselessness until I loaded it up with CM - which held me until the lure of new hardware became too great. So far, I'm still stock on my Nexus 4. I had originally rooted it, but had to revert to get the next Android version. The only feature I really used root for was a one-touch toggle for data. But I found battery life was good enough with the data radio left on, so I'm okay with unrooted stock so far.

I suppose iOS fans would claim that none of this is necessary for the iPhone - Apple upgrades are quick and work on older hardware than Android upgrades. And that's true - to a point. Of course when Apple stops issuing upgrades - or upgrades render your device flaky, there are no options. Same goes, I guess, for Windows phones. WP7 was a particularly nasty dead end. 8 may be better, but there's no track record like Apple's to point to a longer lifespan for a WP device than a Nexus device.

Re: WTF Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46331347)

"Supposedly high"? I propose a showdown. I want you to take your phone and smash it into my Nokia until one of them is no longer functioning.

The loser has to buy a new phone for the winner.

Re:WTF Nokia (1)

sootman (158191) | about 5 months ago | (#46325667)

I don't really care about apps. As long as it'll play my PlaysForSure music, I'll be happy.

Re:WTF Nokia (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 5 months ago | (#46327829)

What's so hard in understanding this simple three-step formula:
1) Make some nice hardware.
2) Put vanilla Android on it with a clear upgrade path to the latest version.
3) Profit!

The hard bit that enables that 3 step plan is step 0) Sack managment, replace them with monkeys.

Sounds like a Niche, not a future (4, Interesting)

Quick Reply (688867) | about 5 months ago | (#46323547)

An AOSP phone without Google Play, let alone Amazon App Store or any other established Android App Store, sounds like a Niche phone for programmers/hackers.

I suspect that it is designed to succeed the legendary Maemo operating system & N900/N9 phones, than a serious attempt to build a future Operating System.

I expect that it will be highly prized among the hacker community, totally hacked to death with an onslaught of Linux-based operating systems including Ubuntu phone, Firefox OS, CyanagenMod, and Maemo itself. Maybe a few surprises with some left-field operating systems finding their way on there as well.

Re:Sounds like a Niche, not a future (3, Insightful)

Howitzer86 (964585) | about 5 months ago | (#46323723)

I was under the impression that this phone was a low cost offering for developing countries. Hackers DO like that kind of thing, but I doubt it was made with them in mind. I agree with your suggestion that it might have been the successor to the Maemo platform. If so, this was something in the works since before the buy-out plans by Microsoft, and that MS, rather than kill it all together, decided to let them get it out there in order for them to make a return on their investment, provided they at least make it look like the Windows Phone OS.

This will definitely be wanted by hackers though with Android drifting ever-away from AOSP, it's almost assured to be considered a dead-end phone.

Re:Sounds like a Niche, not a future (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 5 months ago | (#46323893)

Personally, I like having machines to experiment on, but my phone is not one of them. I want my phone to be rock solid. I also don't like experimenting on my main desktop or laptop either, because I like to keep them running smoothly. I think this is why the Raspberry Pi and Ardruino are so popular. Because you can experiment with them very cheaply, and don't having to spend hours setting up your main work machine when something gets borked. If you want to experiment with stuff hooked up to the cell network, you can get 3G dongles for the Raspberry Pi. Not that the experience on stock devices is so great, but I definitely don't see the fun in experimenting with the phone I walk around with everyday.

Re:Sounds like a Niche, not a future (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | about 5 months ago | (#46324465)

Yeah, agreed. I'm very reluctant to do unnecessary things to my phone and computers too. In addition to an Ardruino, I have a second tower (my older system) around for doge-coin mining and other experiments.

The last "hack" I did to a mobile device was my old Nook Color, which I had bought specifically because it was a cheap way to get into the then-new tablet world. Android tablets were still kinda crappy back in 2010, as well as expensive. $250 was able to get me most of what made a decent Android tablet at the time. It could even handle a lot of the graphics heavy games available then, and I only missed a microphone and a GPS (bluetooth was enabled by Cyanogen Mod)

Since then, I've had less and less of a reason to bother. Regarding mobile, every company appears to pay close attention to the customer. Additionally, everything is more polished and cheaper than it used to be.

Re:Sounds like a Niche, not a future (1)

pijokela (462279) | about 5 months ago | (#46323821)

Is there anything stopping people from downloading Amazon app store and installing it themselves?

Play store is not available as a download from Google (you can get it though), but Amazon is. So this phone should have that and many other third party android app stores.

Re:Sounds like a Niche, not a future (1)

sglewis100 (916818) | about 5 months ago | (#46324001)

Nokia is creating its own store where it will curate “hundreds of thousands” of apps. Third-party stores will also be integrated into the Nokia Store, providing other sources for Android apps. The Nokia X will also support sideloading, just as Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets do.

Sounds like Amazon will be able to support the X pretty easily. In fairness, this nugget was hidden away in the place we're all least likely to check. In the actual article itself [theverge.com] !

XAP limit on Windows Phone 8 (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46324365)

Just because a device supports sideloading individual applications doesn't mean that the device will support sideloading entire app stores. Android has two sideloading mechanisms: the "Unknown sources" checkbox and Android Debug Bridge (ADB). Third-party app stores require the "Unknown sources" checkbox. ADB allows loading individual APKs, but these APKs can't download and install other APKs without "Unknown sources". Windows Phone 8 limits the number of non-Store XAPs that can be installed on a device as a means to control the unauthorized distribution and use of paid applications. I imagine that Nokia could add a similar to limit to Android in order to claim to "allow sideloading" without allowing sideloading of entire stores.

Re: XAP limit on Windows Phone 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46324647)

Uhh wouldn't the fact that they mention supporting third party app stores mean they might support third party app stores???

Re: XAP limit on Windows Phone 8 (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46325899)

That depends on the process for a particular third-party store to "be integrated into the Nokia Store". Would F-Droid qualify, for example?

Re:Sounds like a Niche, not a future (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 5 months ago | (#46325773)

It will probably be trivial to port apps as long as they don't use Google Play Services or other Google stuff. It's also pretty easy to mirror a lot of Google Play content on your own app store.

The way this is probably going to work for a lot of apps is that Nokia will have an automatic script that downloads runnables from Google Play (it's questionable if this is allowed by Google's terms of use, but they haven't gone after anyone for doing it), installs them on their hardware, does some automatic testing to see which apps crash and which don't. For the ones that don't the script will email the developer offering to upload the runnable to Nokia's app store. All the developer has to do is click a link, or answer "yes" to the email.

Unknown sources (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46324299)

Is there anything stopping people from downloading Amazon app store and installing it themselves?

Amazon Appstore on non-Fire OS devices requires the user to turn on "Unknown sources", and we haven't seen whether or not Nokia plans to leave "Unknown sources" visible. AT&T hid it for the first few months that it sold Android devices.

Re:Sounds like a Niche, not a future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46324611)

"I suspect that it is designed to succeed the legendary Maemo operating system & N900/N9 phones,"
That OS doesn't need to have a successor especially the Harmattan varsion. A bit of new hardware, a few more apps and particularly the WILL to sell the damn things!

I guess the latter went out the Windows (pun intended).

CyanogenMod? (2)

DdJ (10790) | about 5 months ago | (#46323569)

So, this is supposed to be a decently-made budget handset for less affluent markets, running AOSP? That sounds to me like the perfect target for a CyanogenMod port...

Re:CyanogenMod? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#46323995)

So, this is supposed to be a decently-made budget handset for less affluent markets, running AOSP? That sounds to me like the perfect target for a CyanogenMod port...

It sounds to me like the perfect target for a simple root, and installation of gapps and xposed framework. No need for CM. AOSP with a couple Xposed modules is nearly indistinguishable from CM. I suggest Rocket Player and Transparent Weather Clock to bring it up to feature parity, as well as a some of those modules like App Settings, and AppOps Exposed.

Re:CyanogenMod? (2)

DdJ (10790) | about 5 months ago | (#46324147)

It sounds to me like the perfect target for a simple root, and installation of gapps and xposed framework. No need for CM.

Well, if you want to rip out the extra points of integration Nokia added to Microsoft services, CM might prove to be the simpler way to get that.

Is there some reason I'm unaware of for avoiding CM?

No thanks Nokia (2)

Nyder (754090) | about 5 months ago | (#46323667)

Due to your spying on customers with your other phone, and of course, MS getting the spying results, I'll stick with my Obama phone, which I know just the NSA is spying on. At least I feel safe knowing that they aren't trying to make money off me, they are just making sure I don't turn terrorist.

What's going on? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46323741)

It's not April the first. What's going on? Has Nokia sold out to the evil empire or not? I thought they already gutted all their core products when they were setup the elop-bomb.

I'd seriously consider getting one to replace my aging n900. Hopefully in black.

Re:What's going on? (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#46323867)

Maybe it's a little added incentive to make sure Microsoft doesn't back of of the deal at the last moment? Plus insurance in case the deal falls through anyway. Plus letting the engineers show off their work publicly now, because you know they won't get a chance if the deal goes through as planned.

Re:What's going on? (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | about 5 months ago | (#46326657)

Maybe it's a "you didn't make me CEO of MS, so this is what you get" message from Elop?! :D

I see a long and successfull future (3)

DrXym (126579) | about 5 months ago | (#46323781)

For a phone product line that runs a bastardized version of Android, which doesn't provide access to Play store out of the box, and that is produced by a company shortly be absorbed into Microsoft

Re:I see a long and successfull future (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 5 months ago | (#46324335)

My pessimistic thinking is that MS will have an excuse not to run Andoid when these fail. Many here have longed for the Nokia hardware but running Android instead of WP8. By making it craptacularly bad, MS can later say that Android doesn't work for them.

Re:I see a long and successfull future (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 5 months ago | (#46324715)

It wouldn't be the first time they've used lame excuses like that. Microsoft had an Internet Explorer for Unix which was quite awful. Then when people chose to ignore it they blamed the low demand rather than the shitiness of their product.

Low-end phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46323849)

What's the point of this? Surely they know low-end android phones suck terribly because even the basic apps in android require more than 512MB RAM to operate. Even Cyanogenmod cannot help that.

Re:Low-end phones (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#46323957)

Well, it's not for the US market, and very low end Android phones do ok in foreign markets. I think it's a contingency for if the Microsoft buy-out doesn't go through.

no google play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46323983)

Sorry, without Google Play it will be ass. Pure Nokia ass. it will have its own Sir Mixalot video. Serena williams will be jealous. itll make Kim Kardashion look like miley cyrus

Present for Elop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46324067)

"Hey Microsoft, thanks for buying us at a fraction of what we were worth. Here's a present for you: something so ugly that will put people off your Windows phones for good. Nice doing business with you. Now hurry up with those dimes and quarters your promised us. Sincerely, Nokia."

Smart move, Mr. Elop (1)

joseprio (923259) | about 5 months ago | (#46324211)

Finally! It will be amusing to hear what Microsoft execs have to say once they sell more Android phones than Windows Mobile ones.

One would think that using an OS created by a Finn in a phone from a Finnish company is a no-brainer; took them a long, long time.

800x480 is uninspired (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46324251)

When Nokia introduced the 770, a 800x480 pixel screen was way, way ahead of everyone else. Now it's an embarrassment.
-- newall

Re:800x480 is uninspired (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 5 months ago | (#46329105)

It's actually still a very common resolution, plus or minus a few pixels, in really low-end phones (which is exactly what this is). It's intended for markets where people consider a $100 phone (no subsidies, just the phone without even a SIM card) to be about as expensive as it's possible to sell at. It's not a competitor with the HTC One, it's an Android-based alternative to their Lumia 520.

A further android fragmentation attempt? (1)

4wdloop (1031398) | about 5 months ago | (#46324315)

It can have strategic goal to advance Android fragmentation? Granted, rather expensive one at it...

It's not Android (2)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 5 months ago | (#46324343)

Don't think of this as an Android phone, it will never be marketed that way.

Think of it as a new operating system than just so happens to be easy enough to have Android apps ported to it.

If the changes to support maps, in-app billing and the Nokia store are as simple as Nokia makes out to be - then it's a bit of a no brainer for developers to do. Especially since it's far less effort than building a new app for a whole new platform (like, say, Tizen).

Finally, yes, Nokia could have just shoved out a pure Android phone with decent hardware - but, against the mighty Samsung's advertising budget and the fact that all the other OEMs are unable to turn a profile - how exactly do people think that Nokia will make enough money?

Not to mention that Nokia would be beholden to Google and where Google wants to take Android, which may not be in their best interests. It's a gutsy move, but if they didn't do something radically different then there is an extremely good chance that they'd just be another Android OEM making a loss.

Even the highly praised Moto X had a price cut in January - an immediate indication that it's not selling as well as hoped.

Re:It's not Android (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | about 5 months ago | (#46328887)

...as opposed to another Windows Phone OEM making a loss?

the only winners at Nokia are the ones that got bonuses for engineering the MS buyout. It's an all-too-common business plan.
1. Put out a largely vaporous business plan.
2. Operate for a few years as though that plan can work.
3. Sell the company to company B that you've duped into believing that success is just around the corner.

rinse, repeat...

The company I work for is currently on step 6:
4. Company B realizes they've bought a lemon, outsources all development so the financials look okay short term.
5. Sell off at a big loss to a private equity firm.
6. Private equity firm cooks up a new, largely vaporous business plan...

Development website (2, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 5 months ago | (#46324473)

Those of us who need more information on the technical side of the version of Android shipped with this phone can look here [nokia.com] for more information. They include an APK checker (no, not Mr Hosts...) that looks for common problems (presumably anything that calls GMS)

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46324533)

my favoritte http://cyerol.com

Conspiracy Theory (1)

Andrio (2580551) | about 5 months ago | (#46324645)

This seems like a pretty bad implementation of Android.

Maybe that's the point. A lot of people say that if Nokia went with Android, they'd be much better off than they are now. Maybe this half-assed attempt was ordered by Elop and his MS masters so that Nokia can say "See, we did try Android, and it didn't change anything. This is why we needed Microsoft"

Nokia and the NSA (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 5 months ago | (#46324695)

With all the wonderful NSA revelations coming out, it has become clear that there is a growing, and eventually huge, market for non US communications hardware. Nokia is completely blowing this buy getting into bed with Microsoft. They should buy out Blackberry and make a line of uber encryption phones and then not cave into any government demands to weaken the encryption.

With Qt Nokia dipped their toes into the open source waters and thus should be able to understand that they could publish their security code which would then make people even happier to use their phones to keep the nosy out of their business.

Re:Nokia and the NSA (1)

Unsichtbarer_Mensch (710092) | about 5 months ago | (#46325363)

This is indeed a golden opportunity which should be seized by Jolla (of ex-Nokia/Sailfish fame) as a purely european manufacturer to market high quality phones that are immune to all sorts of NSA backdoors/gag orders/NSLs etc etc. I sincerely hope they are smart enough to jump on it!

This means Nokia CAN'T make a "real" Android phone (1)

daboochmeister (914039) | about 5 months ago | (#46325651)

Just an observation, with the introduction of AOSP-based phones that don't license the Google Mobile Services, Nokia is now no longer able to license GMS, e.g., if they wanted to make a Android-trademarked phone. That is, without ceasing production of these devices.

Could this be MS's attempt to co-opt Android? (1)

daboochmeister (914039) | about 5 months ago | (#46325741)

There's nothing to prevent Microsoft from continuing this effort, and in fact offering this AOSP-based operating system to other OEMs, for their use. They can even sweeten the deal by negotiating in that no fee for (purported) patent violations will be included. That would be an interesting strategy - they could still focus on WP for mid-to-high end devices, while attempting to ride Android's app popularity into the developing markets. And if they added the ability to run Android apps into WP, then there'd be increased incentive for app makers to port their apps into their own walled-garden market. Hmm ...

Re:Could this be MS's attempt to co-opt Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46327181)

except their entire history of how they don't do anything but Windows.

Stepping stone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46325767)

How exactly is this a stepping stone (or "gateway phone") to Windows Phone? Say someone buys a Nokia Android phone because it's cheap and has decent features. They then use it, love it, and buy dozens of apps, games, in-app purchases, in-game purchases. A year later they're looking for a new phone and see a really nice Lumia that looks/acts just like their current phone but has much nicer specs. They go into the store, tell the clerk that they want to by the Lumia, and then learn that none of their apps are compatible with the nice phone. What are they going to do?

They can 1) stick with the Nokia Android budget phones that are compatible with their apps but have poor specs 2) switch to a different manufacturer that makes Android phones 3) bite the bullet and switch to Windows Phone.

1) Keeps them with budget phones, but they get to keep their apps
2) Makes Nokia lose money, but at least the customer knows that the apps they love *exist* on Android (not necessarily true to Windows Phone)
3) Lets Nokia make money, but the customer is not happy

Microsoft isn't buying Nokia (1)

magi (91730) | about 5 months ago | (#46326023)

Microsoft is not buying Nokia, only the Devices & Services division of Nokia, which includes its phone business. However, that might not prevent Nokia from setting up a new phones business. Perhaps it doesn't make much sense, as Microsoft does get the right to use Nokia brand for 10 years, so re-entering phone business would be rather confusing for Nokia.

Now, if the Android phone is made by the Devices & Services division, it will be transferred to Microsoft, and the Android products may be terminated at some point. It's hard to say - Microsoft could be trying to confuse the market somehow - with existing pantent licensing by Android phonemakers and the ongoing patent cases, Microsoft may try to shake Android markets with a cheaper device for which it has all the patent rights - it now can use all Nokia's phone patents as well, so making phones is almost patent-free, unlike for other Android phone makers who have to pay licensing fees to Microsoft for certain patents. So, making low-cost Android phones could be much cheaper for Microsoft than for others. And, as it doesn't use Google Play, it would bring no revenue to Google.

when the cat's away the mice will play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46326893)

Just where do you think Steve Elop and and his management team have been over the past few months? And if their bodies were not physically back at Microsoft there minds certainly were. But someone is obviously home since they refused to let the Nokia Android play in the US market where Microsoft calls home. You could even tell Elop, a Microsoft man before, during, after Nokia, blocked the N9 from getting shipped into Microsoft's precious North America.

Cool (2)

snookiex (1814614) | about 5 months ago | (#46326967)

I'd buy it.... as soon as it's supported by Cyanogenmod.

The Key is "Windows Style Shell" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46326975)

I'm sure the strategy here is that this phone will be a gateway to an MS based phone. That's why it has a Windows Phone styles shell. People will want to buy a phone, but not a Windows phone (which is true right now). Give them a phone that looks like a Windows Phone then, when they compare an Android phone to their Norkia Android phone, they'll notice that the interface is more like a Windows phone and should be attracted to that phone. Literally, it's embrace, extend, extinguish for Android.

linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46328535)

So Microsoft is going to be selling a smartphone that runs on the linux kernel?

Wow.

Ouch.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46328993)

http://developer.nokia.com/com... [nokia.com]

Platform and devices

These features are not supported in Nokia X software platform 1.0/Nokia X devices:

Magnetometer sensor
Gyroscope sensor
Libvwm (Widevine DRM lib)
Flash player
Live Wallpapers
Front camera
Camera autofocus
Speech recognition service
WMV Codec
VP8 video coded
WebP image coded
NFC
3rd party launcher support is limited notifications will not be shown for user if 3rd party launcher is active
Scrolling within homescreen widgets
Google services (porting needed): IAB, licensing, maps, push notifications
APK expansion files

Not the best idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46329455)

1) Nokia designs good hardware.
2) Nokia folk decide to install Android on their thing. The Android architecture is based on Linux: the hardware layers is well abstracted. If the device isn't working, the rest of the software works elsewhere, so fix the hardware layer for this hardware. There are dev. kits to make porting drivers easy.
3) Adding mickeysoft software is a painfully stupid idea: their stuff is designed not to work with anything else. If you adapt your software to work with theirs, they will see what you did, and go out of their way to break it again. Rinse, repeat.
4) Android software is high performance. Adding mickeysoft crapware to it exposes it to virii, bloats it, and makes it run much slower.
5) Adding winblows to it will make mickeysoft want to claim everything is theirs. They will sue their way through a billion bucks, over 'hello world'. Anything more complicated and they will pass the bank pin codes that access the company fortune over to an army of company lawyers: "Sue till its gone boys".

It could just be that Nokia wants to prove they can make a viable offering in the market, and prove mickeysoft wrong: "Its not our hardware people hate, its your crap software." This comes after Nokia had very poor initial sales with windblows fone 7: Mickeysoft told them the problem is on their end, and to 'Make better phones that people will buy'.

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