Rumours have been confirmed. The once all-Microsoft operating system Nokia is now introducing three devices that do not run Microsoft's Windows Phone OS. It runs Google's Android, the first of its attempt to try an OS other than Microsoft's.
Microsoft's VP of Corporate Communications Frank Shaw went far, addressing the issue via a blog post on Monday. The blogs states that Microsoft loves its services installed on the Nokia phone, but its main smartphone strategy is still Windows Phone.
Nokia's first Android phones - Nokia X Line
The ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona sees three phones launched by Nokia - the Nokia X Line namely Nokia X, X+ and XL. None of the three use Microsoft's OS. Instead it layers a user interface that very much looks like Windows Phone on a tweaked edition of the open source project of Android. They will be in the "growth market" next year.
Nokia Normandy (which is Nokia X Line's code name) appears to be a blend of the cloud services of Microsoft, giving a freeway into the company's ecosystem. The most obvious indication of Microsoft's support though is the commitment to provide unlimited world subscription to Skype (equivalent to one year) to Nokia X smartphones sold to selected markets like Brazil, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Malaysia, Romania, South Africa, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine and Turkey.
Shaw wrote on his blog that they are pleased to see Microsoft services such as OneDrive, Outlook.com and Skype that go with the newly-launched devices; as this brings millions of users to Microsoft. However, in the long term, Microsoft banks on Windows Phone. Windows Phone is their main smartphone strategy and Windows platform is the developers' central device platform.
Microsoft and Nokia are now separate companies, each operating independently. When the Microsoft deal closes, it will acquire Nokia. Thus for now, the Android-powered Nokia phones may not be the primary strategy of Microsoft but the latter is now tolerating it. For how long - that is difficult to answer.
Meanwhile, Nokia is free and even aims at emerging markets, far from the critical eyes of American tech journalists and Wall Street. This freedom will give both companies room to grow.