Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 10th Feb 2014 23:28 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Nokia plans to release this month a smartphone that runs a version of Google's Android mobile software, according to people familiar with the matter, as it concludes the sale of its handset business to Microsoft.

It's all but confirmed now that the Nokia X Android phone will actually be released. Number one question: will this be Nokia's next N9 (dead on arrival, released because it's done anyway), or will it be a true attempt by Nokia - and thus Microsoft - to establish a lasting replacement for Asha?

Second question: how successful can a Play Services-less Android phone really be?

Order by: Score:
Not to worry
by hussam on Mon 10th Feb 2014 23:38 UTC
hussam
Member since:
2006-08-17

It will be rooted in no time so google play store can be installed ;)

Reply Score: 8

Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

This a fairly in depth look at the realities of forking Android by Peter Bright at Ars Technica is very interesting. It's pessimistic about a Microsoft fork.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/02/neither-micro...

But Ben Thompson at Stratechery thinks a Microsoft fork might be practical

http://stratechery.com/2014/microsofts-mobile-muddle/

Interesting times.

Reply Score: 0

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Peter Bright's article was pretty terrible, full of inaccuracies.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/02/neither-micro...

Reply Score: 3

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Peter Bright's article was pretty terrible, full of inaccuracies.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/02/neither-micro...


I don't know enough to judge - could you say what you think he got wrong?

Reply Score: 0

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

There's a link in my comment that addresses virtually everything that's wrong with the article.

Reply Score: 2

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Looks like Nokia/Microsoft has built a version of Android bereft of Google services and including Microsoft services.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/11/nokia-phone-andro...

I wonder if this is the beginning of something new and big for Microsoft post Nokia absorption of whether it is dead end artefact left over form the last days of an independent Nokia? How this plays out is going to be fascinating to watch.

Reply Score: 1

stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

(without any further information than the first paragraph)

I think that a fork is fine. Amazon survive without the play store, for the rest of us, rooting and cynanogenmod are probable.

It's not like Microsoft will use the fork to copyright android features in other roms and sue them for it? right?

Reply Score: 7

leos Member since:
2005-09-21

Amazon survive without the play store, for the rest of us, rooting and cynanogenmod are probable.


Amazon has content, and the devices they make are specifically designed to consume that content, not be general purpose mobile devices. What does nokia have? As for rooting, that's a rounding error in customers.

Reply Score: 8

Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Tue 11th Feb 2014 03:34 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

I'm guessing it'll be DOA.

Once the Nokia purchase goes through, I'd be amazed of Microsoft supported the phone in any way.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by twitterfire
by twitterfire on Tue 11th Feb 2014 07:34 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

An Android phone without Android apps? Sure, it sounds it will sell like hot cakes.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by twitterfire
by unclefester on Tue 11th Feb 2014 09:00 UTC in reply to "Comment by twitterfire"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

An Android phone without Android apps? Sure, it sounds it will sell like hot cakes.


70% of the Android phones sold in China don't use the Google App Store.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by twitterfire
by Morgan on Tue 11th Feb 2014 20:07 UTC in reply to "Comment by twitterfire"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I bought a Kindle Fire HDX specifically because it is Android without Google Play Services. I think Android is a great phone and tablet OS (though I prefer Windows Phone for the former), however I have no need for Google's own apps, as I've all but completely severed my ties with them. The few apps that I paid for via Play, that either aren't available from Amazon or would have to be repurchased, I simply backed up and sideloaded onto the Kindle. That's one of the great strengths of Android: A person really does "own" their purchased apps in the sense that they can back up and transfer between devices (with very few hardware-limited exceptions, mostly Tegra exclusive games in my experience).

To be perfectly honest, I'd buy an Amazon Kindle-based phone in a heartbeat if one were ever offered. A Nokia running Android, sans Google, certainly is appealing to me as well.

Of course, I'm in the extreme minority; most people who use Android either use it because of Google's offerings or, at the very least, enjoy those offerings as a bonus.

Reply Score: 3

Viability
by Adurbe on Tue 11th Feb 2014 09:18 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

The only way this would be viable moving forward is if Nokia produced their own Android Store. Similar to the Amazon one but with arguably better brand marketing in Europe. Nokia have some experience in this with the Ovi store and the Symbian stores of old.

Microsoft 'wont mind' selling android if it makes them money. The only way it will do that is if they run the store in partnership with Nokia.

They could also use the store as a sales driver. There is already HERE brand items from Nokia and XBOX products from MS to replace the Google offerings. And Microsoft could easily get app re-submissions of existing apps.

But now imagine if you could buy office as a Nokia store exclusive? It would probably make a number of established brands make the switch to better sell to business. It would be the App Store 'killer app', one where MS could reach mass market numbers, without losing a cut a profit for the privilege (App Store or Play).

Reply Score: 4

I don't believe it PERIOD
by kragil on Tue 11th Feb 2014 09:25 UTC
kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

If MS were to distribute Android they had to comply with its Apache license and that would mean to stop using patents against Androids handset makers AFAIK.

IANAL and maybe it wouldn't mean making all patents worthless(stupid old FAT patent might not be affected), but the financial hit would be significant I think.

Bottom line: I believe it when they hit the store.


Any license experts around?

Edited 2014-02-11 09:30 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: I don't believe it PERIOD
by Adurbe on Tue 11th Feb 2014 09:33 UTC in reply to "I don't believe it PERIOD"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

Using your own patents doesnt stop you charging others a licence..

They only need to comply with the individual Apache licences, not re-wrap everything and comply as a single whole.

Reply Score: 3

familiar with the matter
by avgalen on Tue 11th Feb 2014 09:31 UTC
avgalen
Member since:
2010-09-23

All I read in that article was "according to people familiar with the matter" 3 times. There was not a single piece of real information i that article.

Somehow, that turns into a headline of "Nokia releasing first Android phone". Mind you, not "Nokia will/might be releasing first Android phone". With all the love for, and knowledge of, English Thom has I expect better.

The good thing about that article is that it specifies a date and place that we can keep them to: "the Mobile World Congress industry trade show starting Feb. 24."

I am not saying that Nokia isn't going to do this. I am just saying that this headline AND the article is link bait. Let me write it differently so that becomes clear:

Headline and sub-headline (shoulder-line?):
* Nokia Releasing First Android Phone
* Finnish Smartphone Maker Readies Device for Barcelona Exhibit
Analysis: So they are not RELEASING now, they are EXHIBITING it in the future. Okay, those 2 lines tell me all that I need to know about this link immediately.

Quote 1:
It hasn't been clear before now whether Nokia would move ahead with the Android phone, expected to be introduced at the Mobile World Congress industry trade show starting Feb. 24
Analysis: Expected by who (people familiar with the matter)? and why are they expecting this? It is STILL not clear if they will move ahead.

Final conclusion: Don't present guesswork as facts

(if anyone wants to take a bet, contact me. I am willing to bet they aren't going to release it and even that they aren't going to exhibit it)

Edited 2014-02-11 09:33 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: familiar with the matter
by Adurbe on Tue 11th Feb 2014 09:42 UTC in reply to "familiar with the matter"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

I take that bet ;) One comment markup at stake ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: familiar with the matter
by avgalen on Tue 11th Feb 2014 10:29 UTC in reply to "RE: familiar with the matter"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

I normally bet for 50 Euro or more, but I will take that upvote on Februari 25th. Marked for monitoring ;)

Reply Score: 2

This has no future
by jgfenix on Tue 11th Feb 2014 09:39 UTC
jgfenix
Member since:
2006-05-25

Microsoft will replace the Ashas with either a limited version of WP or with Windows Mobile with a pseudo-WP GUI.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by TBPrince
by TBPrince on Tue 11th Feb 2014 10:41 UTC
TBPrince
Member since:
2005-07-06

I won't believe that until I see.

This must be the dumbest idea ever: an Android phone with no connection to Google Play app store (the only reason why you would want an Android phone), using a fork you need to maintain on your own, exploiting an Android UI customized to mimic Windows Phone UI, with the need to "port" any application you want to provide to your users, built to compete in a segment (cheap smartphones) where WP is selling steady and big. Whatever they smoke, it must be good.

Nokia already anticipated a Windows Phone annoucement for that conference. If this is not a joke, I'd say that it could be a prank to newer Microsoft management by old Nokia management. But like I said, I see 0.0 chances that Microsoft upholds that when they will get the division.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by TBPrince
by Lennie on Tue 11th Feb 2014 12:29 UTC in reply to "Comment by TBPrince"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

How about Android running on Windows NT kernel ? ;-)

So they can run Android apps.

Edited 2014-02-11 12:29 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by TBPrince
by TBPrince on Tue 11th Feb 2014 16:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by TBPrince"
TBPrince Member since:
2005-07-06

Sure...!

If this is a race about who will make most difficult things... :-P

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by TBPrince
by Lennie on Thu 13th Feb 2014 07:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by TBPrince"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Well, guess I'm not the only one thinking that:

http://www.osnews.com/story/27564/Microsoft_could_bring_Android_app...

But the more I think about it, I think Microsoft would only do that as a very last resort and try other ways to get developers to build for WP.

Edited 2014-02-13 07:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Hell froze over
by dsmogor on Tue 11th Feb 2014 11:25 UTC
dsmogor
Member since:
2005-09-01

It's official, MS releasing a Linux distro.
I never thought I'd live to that day.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Hell froze over
by Lennie on Tue 11th Feb 2014 12:27 UTC in reply to "Hell froze over"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

That would be not only a Linux distro.

But also a Java-based-system. Microsoft never was in the Java-camp.

So not very likely.

I'll only believe it when it shipped.

Edited 2014-02-11 12:31 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Hell froze over
by avgalen on Tue 11th Feb 2014 13:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Hell froze over"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

1. It is not official
2. Microsoft included Java with Windows for years, even made their own "fork" and eventually made .NET (runtime) and C# (language) which is not Java but very heavily influenced by it
3. Ever heard that you can get Linux-on-Azure by Microsoft officialy? http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/documentation/services/virtual-ma...

Edited 2014-02-11 13:25 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Hell froze over
by Lennie on Tue 11th Feb 2014 13:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hell froze over"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

2. They included an basterdized, even incompatible, version of Java.
3. yes, I know.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Hell froze over
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 11th Feb 2014 15:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hell froze over"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Dalvik *is* a bastardized, even incomplete, version of Java. So I imagine, they're right at home.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Hell froze over
by Lennie on Tue 11th Feb 2014 16:11 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hell froze over"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

haha, yeah that's true I guess.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Hell froze over
by phoenix on Thu 13th Feb 2014 18:06 UTC in reply to "Hell froze over"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

It's official, MS releasing a Linux distro.
I never thought I'd live to that day.


Not that hard to believe, considering Microsoft was a purveyor of Unix back in the early DOS days (Xenix).

And they used a lot of OpenBSD code for their Services for Unix on Windows NT/2K/2003.

Edited 2014-02-13 18:07 UTC

Reply Score: 3

chithanh
Member since:
2006-06-18

In 2011, when Nokia switched away from Symbian, a fork of Android would have been viable:
Nokia had very successful cloud services and app stores. Adding those and the ability to run Symbian apps to their Android phones would have been more than enough to attract customers.

Today, they have nothing to make their fork interesting. If they are going launch an Android phone, it will absolutely require Google Play.

Reply Score: 4

Intentionally?
by bert64 on Tue 11th Feb 2014 11:38 UTC
bert64
Member since:
2007-04-23

Has anyone considered that they might be intentionally releasing a crippled android handset so that it bombs, and they can point at it and claim their windows-only strategy was right all along?

Reply Score: 6

RE: Intentionally?
by henderson101 on Tue 11th Feb 2014 13:05 UTC in reply to "Intentionally?"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Or that Nokia != Microsoft, and this might be an "after we sell our manufacturing to Microsoft, we still have a business" type of deal? Look at Jolla, they don't make their own hardware, an OEM does. Nokia could quite feasibly release this as a product that competes with the old Phone division using an OEM to manufacture the hardware, should they no longer have the capability.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Intentionally?
by Nelson on Tue 11th Feb 2014 13:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Intentionally?"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

This is going to Microsoft with the sale.

The situation likely wwnt like this:

- Nokia planned to release the fork to replace Asha.
- Unveiling was planned for Feb
- MSFT acquired parts of Nokia, expected deal to close Jan
- Due to regulatory oversight, Nokia and MSFT can't coordinate significantly while deal is in flux, so MSFT can't tell Nokia to kill it and Nokia can't either.
- Close date of deal slips to Feb/March due to China approval
- Nokia is forced to announce handset and MSFT can't intervene because deal hasn't closed yet

The real question is what will Microsoft do once it finally does own it?

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Intentionally?
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 11th Feb 2014 15:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Intentionally?"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I don't really think that's an open question. When Microsoft has something that it really doesn't want to have, it does exactly what it needs to fulfill contracts, then kills it. See the Kin project.

In any case, Microsoft wouldn't really even have to try to kill it. Without a significant push from them it will die off on its own.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Intentionally?
by tkeith on Tue 11th Feb 2014 15:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Intentionally?"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

This seems like the most plausible explanation. Until the merger is final they have to carry on like it wasn't happening.

Reply Score: 3