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Nokia Debuts Its First Android Smartphones, the Nokia X, X+ and XL

Nokia, the Finnish smartphone maker purchased by Microsoft just five months ago, has just unveiled its first-ever Android-powered smartphones, the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL. According to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, the budget-friendly devices will launch in emerging markets and help Microsoft and Nokia reach consumers the companies have previously been unable to.

Despite Nokia's strong commitment to the Windows Phone OS, Elop says the X family of devices will serve as a gateway to the company's high-end, Windows-powered Lumia smartphones. “Nokia X becomes a feeder system toward Lumia devices,” Elop said. “We are purposely substituting the Nokia experience and Microsoft services in place of Google. Introducing the next billion [smartphone users] to Microsoft.”

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To ensure Nokia X users stick with Nokia and Microsoft’s app offerings, Nokia is using a forked version of Android called the Nokia X software platform that, while capable of running Android-based apps, won’t give users access to Google’s Play store. In fact, users won’t even get access to Google Drive, but will instead be driven to Microsoft’s OneDrive. Skype will also be included on the X family of smartphones further pushing users toward Microsoft’s services. Users who want to use Android apps that aren’t available through third-party stores can download and sideload them to the Nokia X.

The handsets themselves feature a slick interface reminiscent of the Windows Phone Live Tile UI. Both the Nokia X and X+ feature 4-inch, WVGA IPS displays and are powered by 1.7-GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. The Nokia X comes loaded with 512MB of RAM, while the Nokia X+ includes 768MB of RAM and a 4GB microSD card in the box.

The Nokia XL gets a 5-inch, WVGA IPS display, a 1-GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU and 768MB of RAM. All three of the handsets get dual SIM card slots and a free month of Skype’s unlimited world subscription.

The Nokia X phones will be available in emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. The Nokia X will cost 89 euros, while the X+ will cost 99 euros. The larger XL will be priced at 109 euros.