Microsoft going all in with Android, as Nokia XL launches in new markets

Not many would have believed this a year or so back, but Microsoft is now a certified and bona fide Android vendor. One of many, of course, but an Android vendor proper.

The finalization of the sale of Nokia’s devices and services unit to Microsoft late last month gave way to many a questions, the more important of them being what would happen to the Android line of devices that the Finnish company had unleashed earlier this year.

Well, the long and short of it is that Redmond is not hindering the chances of success of the Nokia X line of Android smartphones; not one bit.

The premier version of this new lineup, the Nokia XL has just launched in two key regions, APAC and IMEA. That’s Asia Pacific and India Middle East and Africa.

Stephen Elop, the former Nokia CEO, and currently leading Microsoft’s devices and studios division, recently hinted that the software giant remains committed to the X lineup, despite the direct competition it brings to budget Windows Phone devices like the Lumia 520 and the Lumia 525.

Sure, there is a lot of Microsoft inside the Nokia XL, from the OneDrive app to Skype and the tile based user interface that strongly resembles the Metro UI in Windows Phone.

And instead of Google Play, it provides access to Nokia Store, but the ability run Android apps is the main appeal of these smartphones.

But it does show that the notions of Microsoft axing these devices upon final transaction were rather fictitious, as the company clearly wants to use these budget handsets to bring new users to its services like OneDrive and Skype.

The dual SIM Nokia XL is available in several colors and costs around $150 before subsidies and taxes.

No updated word on whether the smartphone will be sold in Europe and the United States. The same goes for the middle member of the Nokia X family, the Nokia X+, which is yet to be released.

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