Now that Microsoft is completely in control of Nokia, the company has killed off the Nokia X series of Android smartphones. The devices will be converted to Lumia Windows Phone smartphones going forward.
Microsoft has made it official: Android is not going to be an option when it comes to powering its smartphones. The company has announced that it plans to shift the Nokia X series, which run Android, into Lumia-branded Windows Phones.
"Second, we are working to integrate the Nokia Devices and Services teams into Microsoft. We will realize the synergies to which we committed when we announced the acquisition last September. The first-party phone portfolio will align to Microsoft's strategic direction. To win in the higher price tiers, we will focus on breakthrough innovation that expresses and enlivens Microsoft's digital work and digital life experiences. In addition, we plan to shift select Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows. This builds on our success in the affordable smartphone space and aligns with our focus on Windows Universal Apps," wrote Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to employees.
The announcement comes a few weeks after Nokia launched its most recent Android smartphone with the 4.3-inch Nokia X2. While the Nokia X series runs Android, it runs a modified version of the operating system that strips out all Google services and replaces them with Microsoft and Nokia services. Amazon uses a similar approach with its Android-based Fire OS that runs on its Kindle Fire tablets and upcoming Fire Phone. The Nokia X series Android skin looked virtually identical to Windows Phone and Nokia spun it as one way to get users to want to upgrade to a Lumia Windows Phone smartphone.
Prior to Nokia launching the Nokia X series at Mobile World Congress this year, there had been rumors for a few years that Nokia was secretly working on Android smartphones. The company denied reports and reiterated its commitment to exclusively using Windows Phone to power its smartphones. It was believed that the project was formed to please shareholders who questioned going the Windows Phone-only route, with an OS that had not gained significant market share or popular third-party apps at the time.
When Microsoft acquired Nokia, the project was widely expected to be axed, since it seemed strange that Microsoft would want or support the release of a smartphone not powered by Windows. Nokia released a handful of Android smartphones this year and it appeared that Microsoft was going to keep the line around and use Windows Phone and Android.
As Microsoft dashed any hopes of taking a dual-OS strategy with this announcement, Microsoft assured existing Nokia X series owners that the company will support existing Nokia X devices, even though it has no plans to develop any new Android smartphones.