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While we all excitedly await the Samsung Galaxy S5, we must not overlook Nokia’s new trio: the X series – the X, X+ and XL priced in the Rs. 8,000-10,000 range. For the first time in the history of tech, Nokia has taken up Google’s mobile OS, Android. Hallelujah! We never thought this day would come. But don’t get too excited and read on.

Nokia has created this tailored Android version using the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) for its entry-level devices in a bid to popularize Microsoft apps for the Android platform. However, remaining faithful to Microsoft, the X runs Fastlane, which has a familiar Windows 8 user interface (it still hasn’t lost the colourful tiles, except now they are rectangular and not square). And, its biggest downfall, as Phonearena reports, is that it does not give you access to any of the Google apps you’ll find on a normal Android phone, like Google Maps, Google Hangouts, Google Drive or even the Play Store. Instead, Nokia has built its own Android app store. According to NDTV, Nokia says that we will be able to use at least 75% of the applications found on the Play Store without modification, however the remaining will need to be optimized to suit the tailored OS.

Staying in sync with the times, this series also sports a Dual SIM feature and a 1Ghz Quadcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual Core processor. The Finnish company, known for creating phones with mind-blowing battery life, continues the streak with the X. For instance, with a 1500mAh battery, Nokia puts the standby battery life of the X at 28 days (17 if the Dual SIM mode is in use). The camera ends up disappointing though, with only 3 megapixels and a measly resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels.

Like any decent smartphone, the Nokia X gives you an array of applications, all of which are Windows-based. OneDrive (that offers free cloud space up to 10GB), Skype and Outlook are built-in, along with HERE Maps. HERE Maps gives both online and offline functionality, with maps now available for nearly 200 countries and navigation for 98 countries.

However, there are doubts whether Nokia’s customized Android – stripped it of all Google applications – will go down well with everyone. Just a week after the release of the X series, xdadevelopers hacked into the root of the phone and configured it to run Google apps, Tech Radar reported. Really makes us wonder if the next step would be completely replacing it with a full-on Android OS!

Nokia’s adaptation of Android is a strange yet hopefully functional one. It calls for existing Android users to get used to a new interface, and honestly, we don’t have the patience for that. If you’re in for trying something different and are looking for an affordable basic model that gets things done, the X series can be considered. But if you’re hopelessly hung on the UI of a generic Android phone, you might want to take a dekko at Samsung’s Galaxy range.

The basic smartphone in the series, the Nokia X comes at an affordable price at Rs. 8,499. The higher end X+ and XL are scheduled to be launched in India in May.

Written by Indrani Ganguly and Anish Saha