Microsoft Has Just Launched Its First Android Smartphone, The Nokia X2

Meet the Nokia X2, the first Android-based smartphone being made by Microsoft.

Yes, you read that right: Microsoft has just made a new Android-based handset.

It’s also still using the Nokia name at this point, despite previously saying it didn’t plan to trade on that name for long. (Evidently Microsoft’s marketing minions are still working on cooking up that “go forward” smartphone brand.)

The Nokia X2 is not the first Android device Microsoft owns, being as Redmond took over Nokia’s mobile making division in April — a move which brought the original Nokia X device under its wing. But some doubted whether Microsoft approved of Nokia’s Android experiment — and speculated that the line would be quickly culled by Redmond.

Nokia forked Android back in February to create a new smartphone platform, which it called the Nokia X Software Platform to slot in between — pricing-wise — its Series 40 based low-cost Asha devices and its Windows Phone powered Lumia smartphones.

At the time Nokia described the fork as a Lumia “feeder” — with then CEO Stephen Elop saying Nokia X devices would be a Trojan horse within Google’s ecosystem by introducing first time smartphone owners to Microsoft’s services rather than Mountain View’s.

Evidently Microsoft approves of this strategy after all — since it’s now building on that experiment with a follow-up device. Or at least it’s willing to give the fork a chance.

The Nokia X2 is priced at €99 before taxes and subsidies (a little up on the original Nokia X’s €89 price-tag), and has a slightly larger screen (4.3 inches vs 4 inches), along with a beefier processor (1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor vs 1GHz dual-core in the original device).

Otherwise it’s much the same fare, with the handset coming in a range of eye-popping colours and featuring Nokia’s blend of UI experiences — with a Windows Phone-esque tiles-based homescreen, combined with Nokia’s Fast Lane notifications screen, plus plentiful Microsoft (and Nokia) services preloaded, including Skype, Outlook, OneDrive, Mix Radio, Here Maps; and — of course — access to Android apps.

The X2 also supports dual-SIM — a popular feature in emerging markets where Microsoft will be hoping the Nokia X platform can better compete with other Android rivals than Windows Phone has been able to, thanks to those plentiful Android apps — and by reaching a lower price tag than entry-level Lumias can.

The Nokia X2 extends the original trio of devices on the platform which were the Nokia X, X+ and XL.

Below is a Microsoft demo video of the X2:

Wondering what Nokia has been up to since handing off its mobile-making division to Microsoft? It’s also been dabbling with Android — releasing an alternative homescreen for Google’s software platform called Z Launcher just last week.

In mobile, (almost) all roads now lead to Mountain View. So finding ways to build atop Android is the order of the day for mobile players of all stripes.