It’s official. Just few months after finalizing the acquisition deal, Microsoft is killing the Nokia’s over-optimistic Android smartphone series, the Nokia X. Going forward, Microsoft plans on shifting “select” Nokia X products to become Lumia devices running Windows.
Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, announced a change in direction that will bring the Nokia X line more in line with Microsoft’s strategic direction, which means that it’s good as dead. The decision was accompanied with axing of around 18,000 employees from Microsoft, most of whom were part of Nokia.
Back in February this year, Nokia surprised many by announcing the Nokia X series, each running a forked version of Android Jelly bean, with a heavy design influence from Windows Phone. This was announced after the Microsoft announced buying the Nokia’s devices unit, but before the deal was cleared by regulatory authorities. The Nokia X series of phones stripped off all Google services and replaced them with Microsoft’s own set of alternatives – like Bing search, Outlook mail, OneDrive etc.
At that time, Stephen Elop had described the Nokia X series as the “feeder” to the Lumia phones, by pricing it between the low-end Asha series and the low-end Lumia series. It wasn’t clear from the beginning about how much of backing the idea had from Microsoft. Interestingly, Microsoft itself launched the newest Android smartphone from the series, Nokia X2 last month, but it’s now clear that the phone is dead on arrival. In fact, the whole idea of forked Android phones was a non-starter.
Another interesting thing to note here is that Microsoft is planning to move some of the Nokia X series phones to Windows Phone. By that, we assume that they plan to carry over the designs of these products to Lumia series. But it’s not clear when and how they’re planning to achieve this, but our hearts pour out to all those who bought the Nokia X series phones with a hope of seeing it supported for a year or two at least. And for those thousands of employees who’re left jobless.