The Nokia X; What to Expect

Nokia Android

There’s only a few days to go until the Mobile World Congress 2014 and among a slew of devices aiming to take the trophy as the gadget of 2014 will be an unlikely Android contender; Nokia.

It is now looking more than likely that in the coming days, Nokia will launch the X, or known internally as Normandy, to the market. This budget phone will be aimed at taking on the low-cost phone market currently dominated by the likes of Samsung, and is traditionally a market that the Finnish giant has been more than capable of taking on with products like its Asha range and lower cost Symbian powered phones which are still running in the wild.

But what exactly does Nokia’s first and (probably) only Android phone mean, and just what will it be like? There’s been plenty of speculation, but we know that at the very least, it’s not going to compare to the Lumia line, largely considered to be some of the best designed smartphones on the market, just lacking the critical app ecosystem.

We know for sure that that it will be running a forked version of Android, not unlike Amazon’s Fire tablets, giving it quite a lot of access to the Play Store and being able to support accessories and native services that many Android users have come to rely on from day-to-day. This goes some way to what many former Nokia enthusiasts had long sought, a decent smartphone from Finland which ran Android, helping to right a wrong from two years ago.

We also know that it’s going to be nicely multi-coloured, thanks to Nokia’s quite cute marketing and heavy use of green throughout most of its promotional activities, especially the recent duck vine. Something like this would be fairly brilliant, many have tried pushing phones in multiple colours, but so far only Nokia have really hit the nail on the head from a design point of view.

We also know that it’s going to be fairly low spec, not the worst phone on the market, but it should fall somewhere between Asha and Lumia – sporting a 5MP camera, MicroSD card slot, 4-Inch screen and potentially running Android 4.4 KitKat – if true it would already place it well ahead of quite a few Android phones on the market, some of which are still running Ice Cream Sandwich.

It’s been considered very odd that Nokia should choose this moment to launch their Android handset, something fans have been long hoping for, ever since Nokia decided to partner with Microsoft. The phone answers a question Nokia faced when it faced its great OS decision, before making, what many (including myself) consider to be the wrong one. In many ways this looks to be Nokia’s farewell to the world of smartphones – ultimately becomes just another division of Microsoft.

[OPINION] Why the Facebook Phone won’t Work

News is already buzzing about the new Facebook smartphone which is rumoured to be making a release, sooner rather than later. While it’s generating a lot of interest, the big question is, will it sell? I predict, probably not, and for some very fundamental reasons.

Facebook Phone

Concept designs for the Facebook Phone

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[FEATURE] Top Smartphones of the Mobile World Congress

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona is perhaps the biggest tech gathering of the year, with virtually every tech company and mobile network present for companies to unveil their plans for upcoming smartphones, and to generally show off what they can produce to the world.

Mobile world congress entrance

Entrance to the Mobile World Congress

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[OPINION] Why Windows 8 won’t stop the rise of Apple

There have been a lot of rumors and leaks recently around the immanent launch of the new Windows 8 operating system, which is seen as Microsoft’s chance to shake off it’s image of clunky operating systems, with awkward menus and a basic design. This image was perfected in the 90’s with Windows 98, but is starting to now lose some serious ground in the face of growing tablet markets and increasingly more adaptable software. But will Windows 8 change the fortunes of the corporate giant?

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[OPINION] Could Nokia make it in 2012

It’s easy to forget, but before the iPhone and Android smartphones, Nokia was the phone to have. While still one of the largest mobile companies in the world, the age of the Finnish mobile giant has come to and end, or has it? Still considered to produce the most robust and well built phones, basic handsets continue to sell well in many countries. The major problem for Nokia has been the Symbian OS, an out of date software which pales compared to iOS or Android. That is until last year when Nokia announced its deal with Microsoft.

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Lumia 800 sets the Market Alight

The Nokia Lumia 800 is due to shortly hit our shelves here’re in Ireland, and might just hit out heartstrings. Nokia’s first Windows Phone 7 handset is seen by many as the ailing mobile giant’s last chance to turn it’s luck around, as well as the clock and rise to the top of the league again. It’s not an easy task, that’s for sure. We’re all getting pretty comfy with our snazzy iphones and androids, so it’s going to be tough to woo people away and back to what is still seen as ‘the old reliable’.

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Vodafone Blue, is really a bit Blue…

Vodafone have recently released their new Vodafone Blue handset here in Ireland, specifically for all the Facebook nuts out there, as their own answer to HTC’s Facebook handset being run exclusively on O2. One landed on my desk a few weeks ago, so I decided to play around with it.

 

First impressions are a bit reminiscent of a BlackBerry from maybe 3 years ago, there’s a lot of buttons laid out across the handset with a sizable enough screen for the handset’s size in standard QWERTY, with the addition of the Facebook button along the bottom. The menu buttons along the top are a little more confusing, besides the standard call answer and drop buttons, there’s a touch-joystick in the middle which takes a little getting used to when you’re used to gesture based touch screens, there’s also two buttons to either side, which although are not labeled are menu option buttons.

Vodafone

Vodafone 555 Blue Facebook Phone

Running on a custom OS, it’s not too bad, and certainly has enough features for the basic end user. With Facebook instantly accessible and a mediocre camera for updates on the move. Other than that it’s almost indistinguishable from any other Nokia handset for example, while this isn’t exactly a bad thing, it’s not something to go shouting about. I can see where the market for the handset it, for young people who don’t have the finances or the inclination to get a full fledged smartphones but want to keep in touch and use the social benefits which one can give.

 

One major problem, which I had with the handset, was, typing. The buttons are far too small, and for some reason typing ‘c’ also gives me an ‘e’ which I still cannot understand, it might be a handset setting, but why such would exist is beyond understanding. The OS is also clunky, with a poor response from the joystick it was tedious finding my way around. Perhaps it might be easier if I hadn’t come from using an iPhone or Android, but it was a bit of a pain.

 

Overall, the idea is good, but the handset feels like something, which would have been released to the low end of the Market maybe 5 years ago. You could do much worse than this handset, while I did have a lot of trouble with it, the OS felt simple enough and reliable. Perhaps Vodafone should leave Facebook phones to the guys over at HTC, but if you’re looking for a phone to give you on the go Facebook access, you may as well fork out, or wait until Christmas for an iPhone, or the excellent HTC Sensation, you’d get faster, more intuitive access with less hassle and a bettered camera.

 

The Vodafone Blue Facebook phone is currently not available in stores, but you can register your interest on their Facebook page.