Operators and retailers are lining up for the launch of the Nokia X in the UK with the manufacturer reporting strong interest in its first Android phone.
Nokia threw down the gauntlet to its Android competitors last week at the GMSA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, unveiling three cut-price Android-compatible smartphones – the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL.
All three phones, which are powered by a forked Android variant, are aggressively priced with the Nokia X retailing at £73 and the X+ and XL priced at £81 and £90 respectively.
Although Nokia is initially targeting emerging markets with its Nokia X series, UK and Ireland chief Conor Pierce told Mobile this week that UK operators and retailers are showing ‘very strong interest’ in Nokia’s cut-price Android phones.
Speaking at Mobile World Congress, Pierce declined to reveal when the Nokia X series would hit the UK market, but he added: ‘This is our busiest year ever at MWC. All our customers are very excited by our low-end Nokia smartphones. They love the design and they love the idea of having Android on a Nokia device. If you look at the low-end Android space it is very fragmented and the UK experience is very poor.
‘In general the low-end Android smartphones do not offer an optimal user experience. Nokia is known for its build quality and its design excellence and with the price points we are offering we are really confident they are going to be a great success,’ he added.
Pierce said the manufacturer’s decision to develop smartphones with a forked variant of Android is part of a wider strategy to ‘bring people into the Windows world’, by providing integration with Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service, and a selection of preloaded apps that are available on Windows Phones including Nokia’s Here Maps and Mix Radio, Microsoft Outlook and Skype.
He explained: ‘The affordable smartphone market is set to grow by 20% this year and our Windows phones don’t reach that market. We see this as a very strong platform to bring people to the Windows experience.
‘Almost everyone at MWC who has picked up the device has said that it feels like a Nokia device with the same build quality and with features like the Live tiles, so we have brought the quality of experience to these phones.’
Pierce insisted Lumia smartphones would remain Nokia’s primary smartphone platform with the Nokia X range designed to target consumers that can’t afford Lumia phones. He added that Nokia is also aiming to bring down the price of its Nokia X series even further as well as lower the price of its Lumia phones.