Microsoft is launching its first phone – Android-powered handset Nokia X2 – after completing its takeover of Nokia’s handset division.
Android operating system, developed by Google, is usually seen as a rival to Microsoft’s own Windows Phone OS.
The company said the Nokia X2 offered it a way to hook users into its cloud-based services, several of which come pre-installed as apps.
Microsoft completed its takeover of Nokia’s handset division on April 25 at a cost of 5.4 billion euros ($7.4 billion).
The X2 is the follow-up to the original X, launched in February before Nokia sold its mobile business.
The original model became the best-selling mobile in Pakistan and the third best-selling handset in India – according to market-research company GfK – as well as achieving strong sales in Russia, Kenya and Nigeria.
Nokia X2 features:
- a slightly bigger 4.3in (11cm) screen
- 1GB of RAM – double the amount of memory previously included
- a more powerful battery
- the addition of a front-facing camera for selfies
The handset will cost 99 euro ($135) when released in July.
Microsoft’s video chat app Skype, its Outlook email service and its OneDrive internet storage apps all come pre-loaded.
The company is also promoting some of its other apps – including Bing Search, the Yammer business-focused social network and the OneNote idea jotting service – as optional free downloads for the device.
The tile-based homescreen and ability to see apps displayed as a scrollable list on the X2 mirrors the Window Phone user interface, which might help encourage consumers to later make the leap to Microsoft’s more expensive Lumia range.
Windows Phone now boasts over 250,000 apps including Instagram and Vine, which were high-profile absentees until November.
But several banking apps, games, video on-demand software, and apps used to control wearable fitness trackers – all available on Android – remain absent.
The Nokia X2 can run the bigger library of Android apps, but unless users hack the device they can only browse available software via the Nokia Store – which excludes some programs – rather than the more fully-stocked Google Play.
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