Microsoft may have its Windows Phone operating system, but that doesn’t mean it’s unwilling to use Android for its own gain. To that end, the company has announced its first official Android-powered smartphone, the 4.3-inch Nokia X2. Available soon in Africa, the Asia Pacific region, Europe and the Middle East for $99, the X2 runs on a forked version of Google’s Android that’s a dead ringer for Microsoft’s own Windows Phone UI.
Dubbed the Nokia X Platform, the operating system mimics Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 interface right down to its Live Tile-style home screen. But don’t expect to get all of your favorite Android apps on the device. Nokia curates its own App Store that cuts out Google’s first-party offerings. The reason behind the decision is to force users into trying Microsoft and Nokia’s apps including Office, One Drive and Outlook.
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Though the X2 is Microsoft’s first Android device, it’s actually Nokia’s fourth. The Finnish company previously unveiled its X line of Android-powered smartphones a few months before its sale to Microsoft was finalized. At the time, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said the low-cost X line would serve as a “feeder system” to the phone maker’s more premium Windows Phone-powered Lumia handsets, and it seems Microsoft is onboard with the idea.
Positioned between Nokia’s Asha and the aforementioned Lumia lines, the X2 features many of the same specs as the company’s Nokia X, X+ and XL devices. Wrapped in a colorful polycarbonate shell, the X2 includes a 4.3-inch, 800 x 480 resolution display and runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor and 1GB of RAM. Memory is limited to just 4GB, though that can be expanded to 32GB using the handset’s microSD card slot. Cameras include a 5-megapixel rear shooter and a 640 x 480 selfie cam.
Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t announced if the X2 will make it to the U.S., but if past precedent is any indication, it’s unlikely to reach our shores.