Hands-on with 5-inch Android-based Nokia XL

BARCELONA, Spain -- Nokia surprised us at Mobile World Congress with the announcement of a trio of phones running the Android-based Nokia X Software Platform, the Nokia X and Nokia X+, and the bigger Nokia XL.

The largest of the three phones is also the most specced-out, with both front and rear-facing cameras and a larger battery.


One might expect a phone of phablet proportions with a name like XL, but this larger version of the Nokia X line sports a 5-inch screen, which is quite reasonable by today's standards. While the phone is wider than the 4-inch … Read more

SwiftKey's fast-typing predictive keyboard coming to the Nokia X

It's true, Nokia's getting in on the Android game, and it's bringing the best keyboard on the Android platform along for the ride.

SwiftKey, hot on the heels of releasing SwiftKey Note for iOS users, has announced that its predictive keyboard is available for the Nokia X -- and whatever other Android-powered phones may use the Nokia Store in the future. The app will be free (the current Android version costs $3.99 in the US), and will include support for SwiftKey Cloud, which backs up your typing history while also looking for popular phrases on social … Read more

Why the Android-powered Nokia X is great for Microsoft

BARCELONA, Spain -- You would think that Nokia's first Android smartphone would make for the start of a tense relationship with soon-to-be parent Microsoft.

Well, you'd be wrong.

The Nokia X, alongside its brothers the Nokia X+ and the larger Nokia XL, may turn out to be a boon to both companies. The Android phones can be held up as a symbol of Microsoft's continued neutrality, even in the face of the pending acquisition of Nokia's devices business. Nokia, meanwhile, gets an even more competitive budget phone that it can serve up to emerging markets, an … Read more

Nokia 220 is unabashedly simple, but stylish (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain -- For most of its mobile life, simple cell phones have been Nokia's bread and butter. It's safe to say that Nokia knows how to make a good-looking device that handles basic communication. The 29 Euros ($40, £24) Nokia 220, announced at MWC 2014, looks like a promising addition to this legacy.

One thing I like about Nokia is that no phone is beneath its attention. The 220 comes in bright colors; I saw it in red, but check out our slideshow for the blue and yellow versions. The polycarbonate unibody design has rounded corners, … Read more

Nokia Asha 230 is Nokia's cheapest yet (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain -- Of the new Nokia phones announced at Mobile World Congress, the Nokia Asha 230 is the only one to run the company's Asha mobile platform.

Although this is a decidedly entry-level Asha "smartphone," the 230 carries over the same apps that you'll see on other Asha phones, such as the unique-looking 503. It also uses the same two-screen layout that includes an apps home screen and the Fastlane display.

Physically, the Asha 230 looks a little different than past designs. It's squarer than we're used to seeing, and it feels proportionately … Read more

Nokia X Software Platform: An Android-Windows Phone mess (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain -- The new Nokia X Software Platform unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2014 is kind of like the wedding adage: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

Here, the phone-maker borrows, bends, and recombines elements of Android, Windows Phone, and Nokia's own Asha OS as a response to a particularly sticky conundrum: how to make users' beloved Android apps run on a non-Google-looking phone, thereby avoiding a betrayal of partner-and-soon-to-be-parent Microsoft.

The result is an awkward amalgamation that doesn't do justice to any of the hybrid platform's component parts. For someone familiar with all … Read more

Yep, hybrid Nokia X, X+, XL run Android -- but not as you know it (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain -- Take a moment to mentally collect all your visions of firing up a Nokia device to scan Google Now, launch Google Maps directions with your voice, and rent Google Play content. Now throw them all away.

The new Nokia X, X+, and XL smartphones that Nokia unveiled here at Mobile World Congress 2014 technically do run on Android, just as the leaks and rumors promised -- and that means you'll be able to load up Android apps with ease. However, this X and family don't turn in the full 'Droid experience that you think. In … Read more

Nokia reveals the Nokia X 'Android' phone family

Previously codenamed Normandy, Nokia has used its MWC conference to unveil the Nokia X — a phone that's technically running Android, but with more than a few tweaks.

Described as a "three way mashup" the Nokia X isn't just the smartphone family itself, it's also the name of the operating system. Basically a bedrock of Android 4.1, Nokia X pulls in elements of Asha and Windows Phone to create a unique experience — but one that can still use Android apps (although not the Google Play store, it seems — your app experience will be curated by … Read more

Microsoft's OK with Nokia using Android. Kind of

BARCELONA, Spain--Things got awkward for short moment on stage when Microsoft executives were asked about the possibility of Nokia using Android.

Joe Belfiore, vice president of operating systems for Windows, looked to Nick Parker, who runs the world original equipment manufacturer group. Parker looked back, with both wanting to defer to the other.

Finally, Belfiore spoke up, reiterating Microsoft's strong relationship with Nokia. As Microsoft hasn't yet finalized its deal to buy Nokia's device business, he couldn't add too much, but he did offer up this amusing nugget:

"Some things we're excited about, some … Read more

Microsoft: Pretty please make Windows Phones based on our design

BARCELONA, Spain--Microsoft wants to make it a lot easier for companies to develop Windows Phones.

The software giant on Sunday unveiled plans to release a reference design based on its mobile operating system and using Qualcomm hardware. Basically, that means anyone -- from established handset vendors like HTC to PC makers like Hewlett-Packard -- can build phones relatively quickly and cheaply. If the companies want, they can essentially slap their own branding on the device from Microsoft.

"We're open for business on Windows Phone to anyone who wants to build a Windows Phone," said Nick Parker, the … Read more