While most were surprised by Nokia's move to release an Android-based smartphone given the impending acquisition of its mobile phone business by Microsoft, the Finnish mobile giant insists it's business as usual.
Jussi Nevanlinna, Vice President for Mobile Phone marketing for Nokia, answered a series of questions, including one that directly addressed the 'strange' timing of the announcement.
"I can't speak on Microsoft's behalf; what I can say is our strategy with Mobile Phones has been, and remains, connecting the next billion," said Nevanlinna. "Microsoft is equally focussed on 'mobile first; cloud first'."
Nokia believes that the Android-based X platform is one approach to compete in the affordable smartphone market. Nokia not only plans to release more Nokia X smartphones, it is also aiming for lower price points. The company says there's no competition with Lumia phones, since the Nokia X series is targeted at consumers who can't afford Lumia devices.
"Lumia remains our primary smartphone platform and we continue to push the prices down, Nokia X addresses price points that are generally lower than those reached by Lumia, and we'll keep pushing the Nokia X prices down even further, " Nevanlinna added.
With Nokia X family, the company is targeting customers who are now aspiring to get a smartphone. Nokia has given expected launch dates of Nokia X phones in Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, but until now there has been been no word on when the phones will reach the more 'developed' markets. Nevanlinnak spilled the beans during the interview, answering with a big 'No'.
"These are global products, which will be available pretty much everywhere except North America, Korea and Japan."
The company's logic here is that it wants to look towards the emerging markets, which are seeing this big shift from feature phones to affordable smartphones. So the markets like India, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South America, Brazil, and Mexico, amongst others, are on Nokia's list.
Nokia X, which is based on Google's Android Open Source Project, has a few other 'enhancements' on top that, the company believes, make it perfect for emerging markets. For example, the Nokia In-App Payment, which offers in-app payments through operator billing is ideal for emerging markets where credit card penetration is still very low. Nokia says it has tied-up with a large number of telecom operators around the world, so the infrastructure is already in place.
Nokia X Android phone in pictures