Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia has left many people wondering what would happen to Nokia’s Android phones. Would the Redmond giant discontinue those Android phones in favor of Windows Phone? Or would it continue to sell them despite the fact that they run Android? Well, wonder no more because BGR reports that Microsoft has confirmed that they will continue to sell Nokia’s Android phones.
Microsoft the Android vendor: The irony is delicious!
There’s obviously a certain irony here that Android users and Microsoft watchers can enjoy. Who would have thought it possible that Microsoft would be a seller of Android phones? Then again, who would have thought that Microsoft would finally release its Microsoft Office suite for Apple’s iOS devices? But Microsoft recently did just that, so this latest move shouldn’t be too much of a surprise for anybody.
Did you think Microsoft would unceremoniously axe the Nokia X line of budget Android phones the minute it finalized its acquisition of the one-time Finnish mobile icon’s handset division? Well, think again. Former Nokia CEO and current Microsoft exec Stephen Elop said on Friday that the newly formed Microsoft Mobile division will remain “committed to continuing our support for feature phones, the Asha family, and the Nokia X family of devices, announced at the Mobile World Congress in February.”
Of course there’s more here than meet’s the eye since Microsoft’s Android phones have been tweaked to feature Microsoft’s software and services, according to an earlier article on BGR. Wow! Big shocker there! But you really can’t blame Microsoft since they almost totally missed the boat on mobile and now have to grasp at any straw they can find to try and promote their offerings.
Now @evleaks has posted some pictures showing us Nokia’s own unique brand of Android and we can definitely see some design influences that carry over from Windows Phone. In particular, note the call screen in the middle picture that uses the same type of brightly colored tiles that distinguish the Windows Phone 8 UI design.
Image credit: BGR
I can’t help but wonder about the wisdom of blending elements from Windows Phone into Android. The two mobile operating systems are so different that it might come across as a franken-os that just doesn’t fit together properly. If somebody really wants the Windows Phone user interface then doesn’t it make more sense for them to just buy a Windows Phone and skip Microsoft’s Android phones altogether?
Will Android users actually buy a Microsoft phone?
I also wonder how many Android users would favor a Microsoft Android phone over one from Google, Samsung, HTC or some other Android vendor. It’s true that these other vendors modify Android as well (well except for Google but they’re in charge of Android so they can do whatever they want) so it’s not like Microsoft is alone in tweaking it.
But Microsoft has probably not had a great reputation with many people who opted for Android as their mobile platform. If the company did then Windows Phone might have sold far more than it has, but that simply has not been the case. Microsoft just has not been able to get a good foothold against Android in any significant way over the years and I’m not sure that these modified Android phones are really going to change that.
I can see users of other Android phones picking up a Microsoft Android phone out of curiosity, then putting it down promptly when they realize that some of it looks a bit like Windows Phone 8. Am I alone in thinking this? Or are there a lot of users who simply wouldn’t notice or care?
Microsoft will sell Android phones…for now
It’s very likely that Microsoft will probably continue selling the Nokia phones for a certain amount of time, and then the company will retire them quietly. This would fit into Microsoft’s past behavior where Windows has been promoted first and foremost above all other products.
Of course I could be wrong about this since Microsoft has a new CEO and he may already be changing the Windows-first mentality inside the company. But old habits are hard to break so we may yet see Microsoft’s Android phones go the way of the woolly mammoth and vanish from the face of the earth.
What’s your take on this? Tell me in the comments below.